If you go back to the origins of what has become the United States Soccer League, only five teams have been going strong for 10 years or more.
Those five teams are Charleston Battery, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and Harrisburg City Islanders — in that order.
Today in a unified announcement among the supporter groups for these teams unveiled the “Old Guard Shield” series of games that will crown one team with the honor of winning competition between the five long-standing franchises.
The Regiment (Charleston), the River City Red Army (Richmond), the Flower City Stampede (Rochester), the Steel Army (Pittsburgh), and the Capital City Crew (Harrisburgh) have come together and are proud to announce the formation of the Old Guard Shield.
Independently run by supporters, the Old Guard Shield will consist of a home and home series between each “participating” team over the course of the USL regular season. .
The standard point system of 3 for a win and 1 for a draw will be used to determine the standings and ultimate winner. Tiebreakers are as follows (and in this order): 1) Total Points. 2) Goal Differential. 3) Total Goals Scored.
The first of the “Old Shield” matches will be between Pittsburgh and Charleston at MUSC Stadium in Charleston on Saturday, April 8.
There will be a total of 8 games per team and 20 games overall will be tracked. If teams host each other more than once due to USL scheduling the last home game will count towards the standings. U.S. Open Cup and USL Playoff matches do not count towards the Old Guard Shield.
I will look forward to catching up with members of the Steel Army on March 5 — and get more reaction about this novel idea that recognizes the teams that have built traditions and provides additional excitement for the loyal supporters of each franchise.
Interestingly enough, this was done independently from USL and the clubs, and there wasn’t any information about this on the USL website or in its social media platforms on Friday.