Every season in soccer league’s around the world, something that is completely foreign, quite literally, to American sports fans takes place. The idea of promotion and relegation is something that has yet to make it stateside, despite being one of the highlights of soccer.
This season the English Premier League bid farewell to it’s bottom three teams, Cardiff City, Fulham and Norwich City. But with relegation, comes the opposite side of the coin: promotion.
Leicester City, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers are the three squads that are set to replace the relegated clubs. So without further ado, let’s get to know the three newest teams that will be spending the 2014-15 season battling in the Premier League.
Leicester City: Top finishers in the Championship, Leicester clinched promotion with weeks remaining in the season and were far and away the top team in the English second division. The East Midlands club hasn’t been in the Premier League since 2003, but has achieved success in the past, winning the League Cup four times and finishing as runners-up for the F.A. Cup on three occasions. In 2013-14 the squad finished with the second best offense and third best defense in the division, led by 29-year-old striker David Nugent and captain and defender Wes Morgan.
Burnley: Although a name that some may not recognize, Burnley is arguably the most successful historically of the three promoted sides. The other side to clinch automatic promotion, Burnley has only been in the Premier League for two seasons, most recently back in 2009-10. In the past though Burnley has won the first division title, in 1921 and 1960, and claimed the F.A. Cup in 1914. The team is led by Championship Player of the Year, 21-year-old striker Danny Ings, who finished the season sixth in goals scored with 21. The team is captained by defender Jason Shackell, who helped Burnley finish with the league’s top defense.
Queens Park Rangers: Likely the most known name to American Premier League fans, because of their recent two-year stint in the top flight, QPR won the Championship Playoff to earn promotion. Although outplayed in the final by Derby County, a late strike from Bobby Zamora broke a 0-0 deadlock and sent QPR up. QPR replaces Fulham as the sixth London team, and is currently led by manager Harry Redknapp, who has seen spells with Southampton, Portsmouth and Tottenham. Although not having much top flight success, QPR is perhaps most known for their role in Manchester City’s 2011-12 title winning campaign, when Rangers allowed two goals in stoppage time to City allowing City to win the title.
It’s hard to predict how these new teams will do against the Manchester City’s, Liverpool’s and Chelsea’s of the world, but now all have a chance to leave their footprint on the 2014-15 Premier League season.