USL announced it's intention to pursue Division II status a little while back, and it's poised to make a strong run given that it's probably entering its strongest season in years. Bolstered by MLS-owned reserve clubs, such as LA Galaxy II, and MLS-affiliated independent clubs, like the New England Revolution's own Rochester Rhinos, the league will begin play with a fairly incredible 24 teams in 2015.
It makes sense, then, that the sort of fringe talent that drops off of MLS rosters every year would trickle down into a growing league that offers major league exposure. Revolution alums are no different, and three in particular have latched on to clubs across the country.
Back in January, the expansion side Charlotte Independence (who acquired the rights of the previous Charlotte Eagles franchise) made former Revs, Montreal Impact, and Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo their fourth signing in club history. Fans may remember DelPiccolo for his brief stay with New England in 2014, signed in the preseason but released without ever making a first-team appearance before the season had really gotten underway.
DelPiccolo joined former Rhinos defender Patrick Slogic in the Queen City. Both will be coached by Lynn, Massachusetts native and former United States National Team player Mike Jeffries.
Bilal Duckett, meanwhile, caught on with Sacramento Republic FC just last week. Duckett, coincidentally, spent 2014 with the Independence's predecessor club, the Charlotte Eagles. The defender started 24 games for the Eagles, whom he joined after being let go by the Revolution in 2013. Duckett spent most of his time with the Revs on loan in Rochester, where he saw consistent playing time and scored a goal. Prior to that, he was with the Harrisburg City Islanders after the club that drafted him, the Vancouver Whitecaps, let him go.
Revolution academy product Gabe Gissie, who controversially made the jump out of Foxboro back in February 2014, is also with Sacramento. SRFC also has grand designs of eventually expanding into MLS, and are among the finalists for the announcement of the next round of expansion, reportedly coming in a few months.
Finally, there was this:
Second from left is Alec Sundly, the defensive midfielder who was probably the most successful Rochester loanee for the Revolution in 2014. Sundly made 24 appearances for the Rhinos, scoring twice, and even played against the Rhinos for the Revs in the U.S. Open Cup. It looks as though he'll suit up for Real Monarchs this season, the Real Salt Lake-owned club playing in USL this season.
The Cal standout is listed on their official roster, though there are perhaps a few Revolution fans who would have liked to see him stay with New England and continue to develop.
There are obviously more Revolution alumni plying their trades in the lower leagues, and with USL growing in size and perhaps stability, others may find homes at clubs across the country.