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With more expansion on the horizon, NASL’s Peterson welcomes competition from MLS



When Major League Soccer held a ceremony in Miami more than a year ago to announce plans to expand into the Florida city, few could have imagined that MLS wouldn’t be the first pro soccer league to jump back into the difficult market.

The North American Soccer League has done just that, swooping into Miami at a time when David Beckham’s plans for MLS expansion in the city has hit a series of roadblocks. Now, with Miami FC set to play in NASL next year, the league that had grown accustomed to losing markets to MLS suddenly looks ready to take one of its own.

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson insists the timing of the league’s move into Miami wasn’t about trying to beat MLS to the punch. Citing his belief that Miami is big enough to support more than one club if necessary, Peterson says that he believes a potential MLS expansion could be beneficial to both parties.

“It did not have an effect on the timing of any decision,” Peterson told SBI regarding the MLS plans. “Of course, we evaluated it with potential owners. Will this venture be successful if there’s another team in town? We absolutely believe that not only will it be successful, it might be more successful. We do believe that rivalries are good for the fans. It generates more interest in the different communities.

“The market place is massive, so it stands up with other major metropolitan areas that have more than one team and in the rest of the world, you might find four or five teams here. That actually could be a positive if they put a team here, and if not, we’re very happy with the Fort Lauderdale and Miami rivalry. The more the merrier.”

According to Peterson, expanding into Miami wasn’t about the league targeting the market, but rather the product of a viable ownership group emerging in a market the NASL believed has potential.

“Six months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you Miami would be the next team in the league, but a few weeks ago it became obvious that we were going to be in a position to admit this new group because everything was in order,” Peterson said. “It’s more of a natural development process than any sort of target or selection.”

The NASL is targeting a group of 18 to 20 teams as the league continues to expand. There are currently conversations taking place with groups from Hartford, Connecticut; Hamilton, Ontario; and throughout the Midwest, while guaranteeing locations in the Midwest and West coast in the coming years.

Peterson says that those conversations are “very serious”, but admits that it’s hard to predict what will happen with expansion in the coming months.

With Miami FC set to begin playing in 2016, the commissioner did admit there is a chance that more teams could be added to meet a 2016 start date. However, Peterson will not rush a team into a less-than-ideal situation, as the league looks to continue expansion towards an end goal.

“I would say there is a chance that we can add more teams to play next year, but that window’s closing quickly,” Peterson said. “What we’re not going to do is rush into something that we can’t get started properly. With everybody we’re in conversations with, they’re well aware of that and once we reach a certain point, it would make more sense to start in 2017 than 2015. We handle it as needed and when the time arrives, we’ll make the right decision.

“This is team number 12,” Peterson added. “We’ve stated that we’re going to go to either 18 or 20 teams. We’ve got another six to eight teams to add. I guarantee you that we’re going to be on the west coast. I guarantee that we’re going to be in the midwest. When we finish and we’re at 20, we’re going to have a great footprint with very strong clubs.”


  1. How is San Diego not in any equation for MLS nor NASL expansion. They get 7-9,000 for indoor soccer. Highest TV ratings for any non MLS cities for USMNT games and beats a majority of MLS cities.

    • If they had an ownership group and a stadium plan than I believe they would be. That is what it takes. An ownership group.

  2. I hope NASL is successful but I can’t see how they can compete with MLS directly. MLS has been in business for 20 years and some of its clubs now operate at a profit. The NASL folded many years before MLS existed. NASL does not have a TV contract with any nationwide sports channel and probably has 25% of the annual attendance of MLS. Like I said, though, I wish them the best.

    • MLS’ claim that it is losing money is difficult to believe – seems unlikely that intelligent business people would operate a business for 20 years losing money all the time. In addition, it seems difficult to understand that other intelligent business folk would pay $100 million dollars to enter a business that is losing money.
      To that end, this quote from a MLS veteran stood out –
      “SUM [Soccer United Marketing] makes a lot of money, obviously that not too many people know…” from Thomas Rongen, current Tampa Bay Rowdies coach. Full interview here:
      There doesn’t appear to be a complete explanation of the SUM-MLS-USSF available for review, but, it may be much more lucrative then people realize.

      *First time long time
      ** “ASU” – dropping knowledge bombs. enjoying your posts.

  3. Nasl can be good but they need to expand into the Pacific and mountain time zone.
    I think Miami is a bad move but nasl is trying to make mls life horrible by putting an nasl team.
    Besides miami, nasl can go into san Diego, san Francisco, Eugene, Albuquerque, el paso tx,Omaha, Detroit, Milwaukee,Raleigh, puerto rico, Nashville, oramge county and some other Canadian market s.

  4. My hope goes to the last eight being Hartford, Hamilton, Detroit, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Fran, San Diego, and it would be huge if the league could get Sacramento. If they could still work out the Canadian division Peterson had mentioned in the past, then that could open up more US spots in the future as well.

    • I’d be happy with that lineup. I don’t see Sacramento jumping ship – they’ll be patient. MLS is what they want and I’m sure they will be rewarded. Instead of Sacramento maybe a Baltimore. Or if we want to balance out the west maybe Santa Ana or Anaheim.

      • Oh, and I keep forgetting about the Puerto Rico Islanders. With four teams in Florida maybe the logistics make more sense for them to come back into the league.

  5. I love NASL!! That’s how you do it!
    Strong owership! Perfect partnership!!
    Welcome to NASL Miami FC!!!
    Can’t wait ti see others citys to join!!!
    Las Vegas Quicksilvers!!! Yeah!! In honor or Eusibio!!

  6. I lived in Omaha for 5 years. They love soccer there, and between Omaha/Council Bluffs/Lincoln there are 1MM people. There are two Div I programs there in Univ Neb at Omaha and Creighton. The only professional teams there are a AAA baseball team, the Omaha Royals, and a minor league hockey team, Omaha Lancers.

  7. San Francisco, Las Vegas

    Peterson would be a fool if he didn’t at least make a phone call to Sac Republic.
    Just to take their temperature

  8. Let me get this started for you…

    If they stop at 20 and want more teams to join, what are they going to do?

    (hint: It rhymes with “The best of the whirled fuzz hit this day…”

  9. Come to Albuquerque bros! We’re ready. The Isotopes have priced themselves out of the market with $18 tickets and no one goes to watch them anymore. We need something else that is reasoably priced so that people can attend. Albuquerque is ready for some NASL!


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