Since the 1950's our league has been a fixture in the area as the biggest amateur soccer league in our region. We are home to the oldest running amateur soccer cup tournament in the United States with the Tehel Cup. It dates back to 1925 and it’s really an honor to continue that tradition today. Our 11 week season runs from the beginning of May to the first few weeks in August, to make sure all of the local collegiate talent can participate. Our game days are on Sundays while the Tehel Cup matches take place on Thursdays. Over the years we have grown from a single division to our current 5 division format with an over 35 division as well. This 2015 season we'll have 63 teams across those 5 divisions, making it our biggest year ever in terms of both players and teams. Along with that I'd say the leagues talent level has never been higher nor the anticipation for the season has ever been amped up this much. The fact that Non League America has taken notice is a testament to where we are as a league. I mean they can correct me if I'm wrong here but I'm pretty sure we are one of the largest pure local amateur leagues in the US now. We'll register over 1,300 players this year. Of our 63 teams 52 of them maintain active twitter accounts. Because of this boon, we've been able to build stat tracking, a transfer tracker, and some other really add some cool features to our website.
Going back to the structure of our league we have 5 main competitive divisions. Starting highest to lowest we have Premier (12 teams), Championship (12 teams), 1st (14 teams), 2nd (14 teams), and 3rd (11 teams). We have a promotion and relegation system in place to keep the competitive balance. The two teams who make the playoff final of their respective division move up a group while the two last place regular season teams move down. New teams to the league are subject to placement by our board and are rarely placed higher then 2nd to start. With this process in place we've really been able to keep the competition high across all 5 divisions. I believe the competitive balance this system creates is the key reason as to why the league has grown.
With Tehel Cup the format has changed here and there over the years. Currently we opened the Cup up to all teams in BDSL with a 63 team NCAA style bracket tourney. A double blind draw sets the single elimination brackets for the tournament. From the current 63 team list there are 8 previous Tehel Cup champs looking to hoist it again.
Famous alumni our league has seen many semi-pros (Asani Samuels one among many many others.) and even MLS starters (Bobby Shuttleworth) play in our league. We have former NFL stars (Kurt Schulz & Steve Christie) and an US futsal Goal Cup winner (Steve Butcher). I'd say the current 12 teams in our Premier division is the deepest its ever been with every roster containing collegiate talent from all over WNY along with NPSL and PDL players.
We have goals of our best teams repping us in the Region I tournaments. As we grow so will our goals and ambitions. Our league has the Scores featured in the Buffalo News each week and have been covered by local soccer website Go Upper Ninety (http://www.goupper90.com/). Inside our forums we have complete break downs of the entire league.
I've looked around at leagues across the US and we are a cut about almost all in terms of orginazationally sound and scope. We have players from Rochester who played in the RDSL (an USASA Premier League) and say our level of competition is higher now then that of theirs. While we may not have had lots of involvement in nation and state level tournaments yet, our goal is to change that and earning this membership is a step towards these goals.