Is Starting a UPSL Team Worth It?

If you’re looking to start a UPSL team, here’s how much you can expect to pay.

League Fees

UPSL charges teams several fees. First is a $500 annual membership.

Teams also have to pay a $2,000 per season entry fee. There are spring and fall seasons, but teams can choose to play in one or both.

There is also a player registration fee of about $40 per player. This covers player passes and insurance.

UPSL does not have a franchise fee or application fee. However, accepted teams will also need to pay a $500 refundable bond to guarantee teams will appear for all games and meet league standards.

Players and Coaches

UPSL teams vary on whether they pay players a small stipend to offset expenses, don’t pay or charge players, or charge players to play. Many coaches do receive at least a small stipend or per game fee.

Stadium Rental

Unlike professional leagues, UPSL doesn’t require a minimum number of seats. However, you’ll still need to rent a quality field preferably with stadium seating.

Fields generally need to be international size which eliminates many high school stadiums and youth fields in local parks. Fields also need to have high-quality grass or artificial turf which also eliminates many heavily used fields.

Field rental rates will vary depending on the facility owner. You can expect anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per game. Remember, there are typically 8 to 10 home games in a season.

If you’re a youth soccer club starting a UPSL team, carefully review your existing rental agreements to determine whether they allow you to host UPSL games.

Travel Costs

Travel costs vary widely by division. In some larger cities, you may play almost entirely within the same city. In other cities, driving 6 to 10 hours for away games is the norm.

For longer trips, some teams rent buses or vans. Other teams have players carpool and reimburse the driver for gas. Hotel stays may also be needed.

If you advance in the playoffs, additional travel may be required. Playoff brackets are regionally, so the farther you advance, the farther you have to travel.

The national finals, and sometimes the conference or regional finals, are usually held at neutral sites with the semi-finals and finals held on the same weekend. These trips will usually require flights and hotels.

Many team owners estimate between $5,000 to $20,000 in annual travel costs depending on where they’re located.

Referee Fees

The league invoices teams for referee fees each game. The home team is usually responsible for the full referee fees since they’re not incurring travel costs for that game.

Referee fees usually work out to $300 to $400 per game depending on the conference. While this can take up a big chunk of your budget, paying officials less than $100 per game each is one of the reasons why UPSL has trouble attracting quality officials.

Team Uniforms

Teams are also responsible for their own uniforms including home and away kits plus warmups and training gear. Depending on where you shop and what you get, expect to spend $100 to $300 per player.

Other Equipment

While the league provides a few game balls, you may need other miscellaneous equipment like practice balls, warmup bibs, cones, corner flags, nets, practice goals, and more. Some items are one-time expenses, while others will need to be replaced annually.

Depending on what you already have and what your facility provides, budget at least $1,000 to $2,000 per season.


Teams are expected to maintain a social media presence and will want to anyway if they’re trying to sell tickets. Marketing expenses include things like logo design, building a website, buying a professional camera or hiring a photographer, and promotional materials.

Depending on how much you intend to advertise, budget from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

Adding it All Up

A UPSL team will usually have annual expenses of $20,000 to $30,000 on the low end. You might be able to spend less than that if your conference is fairly local. If you’re operating like a pro team or subsidizing player costs, your expenses can be much higher.

Most teams offset set their expenses by selling tickets for around $5 to $10 per person or $10 to $20 per car. You may also be able to find team sponsors or sell merchandise.

At the end of the day, most teams break even or have a loss. While it’s possible to make a profit, UPSL usually isn’t a good business investment.

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