The North American Soccer League crowned their champion for 2016 last night at St. John’s University. The New York Cosmos won their third championship since joining the league in 2013, defeating Indy Eleven on penalties. Local goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer has been a mainstay for the Cosmos in those title runs.
It’s been a rocky season for the league:
- Tampa Bay and Ottawa have decided to leave the league to join the USL in 2017
- Minnesota is joining MLS in 2017
- Rayo OKC and Ft. Lauderdale have been marred by financial problems all season and are far from certain to return in 2017
There is some good news, the San Francisco Deltas will be joining the league in 2017. So far, everything points to the Deltas being a solid addition to the league. They will be playing at historic Kezar Stadium.
Peter Wilt’s group in Chicago has been public about their desire to join the league, but stadium issues have caused delays. He is expected to be ready in 2018. Beyond that, there have not been many specifics about new teams ready to join the league. Atlanta was at one point rumored to be rejoining the league, but nothing has been heard since the original rumor broke.
The Midfield Press is a great site covering the lower divisions in the U.S. and a great resource for potential expansion clubs. According to them, there is a group in Los Angeles that could possibly be ready to start in the Fall of 2017. Most of the other groups considering NASL are looking at 2018 starts if everything works out.
While not ideal, a smaller roster of clubs in 2017 will give the league’s owners an opportunity to either solidify or redefine what the mission of the NASL is.
Also, to be considered:
Had very productive meetings in last 24 hours with NASL and USL leadership re: future of the professional game in the United States. pic.twitter.com/pWwbeGGWq8— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) November 3, 2016
The USL has applied for Division 2 status, the same that NASL has currently, and is expecting an answer by the end of the year. The USSF has stepped in before when the lower divisions needed assistance. They operated the Division 2 Professional League in 2010 before the NASL was ready to stand on its own, but teams were leaving the USL after a series of disputes. It’s doubtful that they would get involved to that degree again, but they could work to ensure the success of the individual clubs and prevent the turnover from year to year that U.S. Soccer has seen in the past in the lower divisions.
The NASL’s leadership has been consistent is saying that they are committed to moving forward and growing the league. They feel that they offer clubs a different model than MLS or USL and that there are owners who appreciate that. Are there enough of them to make the league viable? Time will tell...
The New York Cosmos win their third NASL title in four years, defeating the Indy Eleven on penalties after a scoreless draw (This is Cosmos Country)
Five reasons Wayne Rooney would fit in MLS (ESPN)
The Chicago Fire chase of Bastian Schweinsteiger is real (Hot Time in Old Town)
Red Bulls’ Derrick Etienne gets his first start for Haiti (Once a Metro)
Tim Howard out for the Costa Rica game, and possibly the MLS playoffs (Stars and Stripes FC)
Why Steven Gerrard might sign for Celtic? (Daily Record)
Georgia State’s season comes to a disappointing end in the Sun Belt championship game (Dirty South Soccer)