Timbers affiliate to join new MLS league in 2022

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Timbers affiliate to join new MLS league in 2022 originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

T2 is back... kind of. 

Major League Soccer announced on Monday that it would be launching a new league in 2022 and the Timbers will be a part of it. 

The new league is basically a minor league feeder system similar to Major League Baseball and is "designed to complete the player pathway, while also bringing the excitement and passion of professional soccer to cities that currently do not have a professional soccer team," according to MLS.

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“We are excited to launch a new league to complete the professional pathway between our academies and the MLS first teams,” said MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott in a league release. “In addition to providing more opportunities for MLS-caliber players, the new league will develop a diverse talent pool of coaches, referees and front office executives while also attracting fans who previously were unable to support a local club in their hometown."

The Timbers had a system to feed them in recent years with T2. Serving as a bridge between the Timbers Academy and the main club, T2 had six seasons in the USL’s first division (2015-20). Portland did not field a T2 squad in 2021. 

The new league has yet to be named, nor has the new Timbers affiliate, but the league will aim to bring soccer to markets that don't have a professional squad. 

Portland signed a deal with the Hillsboro Hops in 2019 to use Hillsboro Stadium as a home pitch for T2 and that deal will remain in place in 2022 for the new league affiliate.

Consisting of 20 teams to start, the new league will begin its season in March 2022 and will end with a championship match in December.

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