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Bill Peterson named new NASL commissioner

Photo courtesy of NASL

The North American Soccer League is growing in stature and franchises, and such growth will be managed by Bill Peterson, a former NFL Europe executive who takes over as the new NASL commissioner, effective immediately.

Peterson, a former vice president of AEG Sports and managing director of the Home Depot Center, has experience beyond working with Major League Soccer. He’s the chairman of the USA Cycling Board of Directors and guided the United Football League in 2010 and 2011 as chief operating officer.

Peterson enters the NASL top post with the New York Cosmos set to debut in 2013 and expansions teams coming soon in Ottawa and Virginia. The addition of those teams will give NASL nine teams.

“There is an opportunity here to cement the NASL as a league that can thrive and expand while providing compelling soccer for the game’s fans,” Peterson said in statement from the league issued Tuesday.

“The roots of the NASL triggered a soccer explosion in North American in the 1970s and I am delighted to be leading this new chapter as we take the league and its teams forward into an exciting future.”

What do you think about the hiring of Peterson? Does the NASL have a bright future? Looking forward to the new teams coming to the league? Share your thoughts below.


  1. @ Have you seen who’s on the USSF board? Cross referenced with the MLS board?

    I have had casual daydreams about p/r since ’98 (being a Chicago Fire guy), and have some vague, probably irrational, hope to see it in place in this country before I die at a ripe old age. However, in the real world, any possibility of p/r taking place in the foreseeable future is right up there with a reversal of global warming and Generalisimo Francisco Franco resuming control of Spain.

    The speed of history keeps increasing, and what once took generations can now take place in a couple of decades, but the dozens of seemingly unrelated pieces that would have to fall into place for p/r to be practical doing just that is highly unlikely.

    So I’m just gonna follow along as the NASL takes the steps necessary to build a sound league where lots of people can go out and support home sides in person, having a really good time, just like what happens in Chicago with the Fire.

  2. Ives certainly knows how to achieve comments and page views: just throw a lower-level league story out there and wait for the pro/rel zealots to feast.

    And Henry, no, that won’t happen. Mainly because in 2022, the NASL won’t have 18 clubs playing in SSS with packed houses, but “the media the fans and the players calling for it” wouldn’t make owners vote for it to happen. And, make no mistake, they WOULD have to vote for it to happen. USSF’s not going to impose it. No matter what you and your brethren think.

    • thought question: It’s 2026 and NASL has 18 clubs all of who play in SSS. Attendance rivals other top Division 2 leagues around the world, and the majority of clubs have strong fan support, supporters clubs etc.

      The argument against pro/rel is then what?

      If you answer something along the lines that America does it differently then we know who the zealot is.

  3. for everyone that advocates for promotion/relegation, the path to it is a strong and well supported NASL.

    If in 10 years NASL is full of clubs playing in SSS with full crowds then pro/rel will happen. The media, the fans, and even the players would demand it.

    I just don’t see how pro/rel would not happen in that scenario.

      • yeah but its not they who decide. It’s USSF. Plus FIFA would have a lot to say. Besides, MLS owners would have had to know that if there ever was a time where a Division 2 built up to a stable division with great support that pro/rel would be a possibility. It’s just part of the global game. There are something like 150 soccer leagues on the planet and all but two of them have pro/rel.

        If in 2022 the NASL has 18 clubs playing in SSS with packed houses then pro/rel will happen. The media, the fans, and the players would be calling for it. It would create a situation where MLS owners couldn’t prevent it.

        The reason pro/rel is not even in consideration now is because it’s not doable because of unstable lower divisions.

  4. ugh another NFL guy running one of our soccer leagues. FFS

    I really liked David Downs. He understood that soccer is a global game.

  5. Bring nasl to el paso so we can rival san antonio, we don’t like them and they don’t like us, same thing with albuquerque and austin. As for nasl, they should rival mls but they should become mls2 and usl should become mls3. therefore nasl should b mls2 and usl should be mls3 but mls3 should be for the reserves and even have some mls-b teams in mls2. As for promotion and relegation, the league needs 15 to 12 years to at least have some kind of it. For example I would not relegate the team but I would punish an mls team for a year and make the team play in mls2 and make the team earn a certain amount of point in order for them to come back, and as for promotion, reward an mls2 team by the same token, if the team makes a certain amount of points, then they are able to stay.

  6. Quick correction on text above, with the Cosmos starting spring of 2013 there will be nine teams in the league. Ottawa and Virginia starting in 2014 will push the league to eleven teams. There is a good chance Indy will also be in by 2014. NASL has a stated goal of 18-20 teams by 2018, and it seems like a plausible goal.

    This seems like a good hire for further grounding and growing the league. Peterson’s extensive history with Don Garber and AEG can only be seen as a plus.

  7. B league status wont work for NASL. It needs to offer something a little different. While technically a B league, I think it should continue its whole North American concept, as a sort of mini CCL. 2 Canadian teams & 2 Caribbean teams (hey, even Mexicali in NASL would be cool).

    • The problem is money. There is a reason why the other major professional sports don’t have serious competitors. As MLS continues to grow , NASL will be an minor aferthought without TV revenue and larger soccer stadiums. Better to find a way to work within MLS’s umbrella.

      • MLS gets very little from TV revenue right now. Correct me if i’m wrong but most of the revenue comes from the gate and merchandising.

        Having stable lower divisions is essential to our development as a soccer nation. We need more pro clubs throughout the country that serve as a pipeline for youth training and the beginning of pro careers. Lower division clubs have a big role to play in player development. That’s part of NASL’s business plan. They all have academies already.

        Lower division leagues in other successful soccer nations don’t rely on TV revenue either. They get by through developing talent and selling contracts.

        Central planning everything under the MLS umbrella will set this country back decades. We’ll never have a great national team if we think we can just runner a soccer league just like any other American sports league.

      • In fact most of MLS’ revenue comes from the summer exhibition & Mexican games that SUM puts on. Sad, but that’s the reality at the moment.

  8. Presuming the Cosmos will be MLS NY2, NASL needs to position itself as the eventual MLS B league. MLS B could be the feeder league for new A teams. Also, while traditional promotion/relegation will not work for MLS (at least not now), I could see a promotion-only scenario where the MLS B winner get to spend a year in MLS.

    • But wouldn’t such quasi promotion make things worse? Imagine a situation where the newly promoted team makes it to the MLS playoffs, gets hot and wins the MLS Cup, but gets relegated because its one-year promotion term expired. The most important thing about promotion/relegation is that it rewards merit. You can start with a team in the third division, find a good manager, and make it to the top league – e.g. Swansea. The prospect of relegation also forces the owners to put a better quality product on the field, whereas now an MLS club can field substandard product year after year and remain in the league.

      • You have to change your mindset. The goal of MLS B would be to position existing teams for eventual inclusion as permanent members of MLS A. The “promoted” team each year would be rewarded by getting a year of MLS revenues to help build their franchise and would not have to spend money “just to stay up.” When their one-year invite to A expires, they go back to B with more money and exposure and better prospects for eventual permanent inclusion. Because no B team could stay in A in consecutive years, there will be some automatic spread of wealth (though you could imagine an exception if the B teams wins MLS Cup somehow). As for the incentive that relegation creates, that is fine, but its also true that none of the other major US sports have that system and as a fan you hope your owners have deep pockets and make good decisions.

      • You make some interesting points. I suppose there may be some tangible benefit in the form of increased revenues to a particular club from B league if they stay up for one year. But once again the club doesn’t stay up even if it may have significantly outperformed other A league teams. For me it is still a debate about whether the system rewards merit or mediocrity. Your proposal is interesting, but it underscores the flaws of the current system. Plus, once the club is relegated despite outperforming many of its competitors in the top division, it might not be able to retain its best players, particularly given diminished revenues and lower level of competition. You are correct that other major leagues in this country have no promotion/relegation, but NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL are the top leagues that have very little competition from other leagues for the top talent and TV rights money. In contrast, MLS competes with other leagues for both players, money and fans so it needs to adopt a more efficient model that rewards merit.

      • no club should have an automatic permanent place in top flight. That doesn’t happen anywhere on the soccer planet.

    • pro/rel will happen when NASL has a league full of clubs playing in their own SSS with great crowds.

      depending on the demand and the growth of the sport this is anywhere from 8-15 years away


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