It is what it is, no doubt, the strongest teams arenít in the Piedmont league. Itís definitely a lower level than NPL.
Your information on club based vs team level is correct and the same can be said for ECNL, DA, USL Academy etc.
Be glad that the USL Academy will be club based as that would be the only reason CBSC will have access to the USL league, their current crop of teams have no business playing at a level beyond classic / challenge.
Perhaps, but lower level is opinion not borne out by facts. Chances are if USA/MP switched their NPL/Piedmont teams to the other leagues, they would instead:
A. Be among the best in the Piedmont and
B. Bottom of the barrel in the NPL.
Pretty much what they have now.
As for CBSC, I agree. And for the sake of the club, hopefully the opportunity for their kids to play in a high quality league will remove the last barrier for some players/parents from joining the club.