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Report: NASL exploring two franchises in southern California

usatsi_9277948_168381069_lowresThere hasn’t been a ton of good news surrounding the NASL in the last few months, but there may be something worth looking forward to in the middle of the 2017 season in terms of expansion.

According to a report in the Los Angeles TimesPeter Wilt is looking into bringing teams to San Diego and Orange County. The teams could start as early as the 2017 fall season, which begins in July.

San Diego has been in the news recently, as it was mentioned as one of the 10 potential expansion cities by MLS commissioner Don Garber. Orange County is already home to a USL side, the Orange County Blues who play their home games at UC Irvine. No specific sites or ownership groups were mentioned in the report.

The NASL has experienced a tumultuous offseason with teams leaving for MLS and USL and financial troubles have left the future of a few clubs in doubt. However, the league is ready to make an imprint in California, with the San Francisco Deltas set to begin play in 2017.


  1. I’m having a hard time understanding why NASL continues to contemplate moving into MLS/USL markets. There are plenty of markets in the U.S. with more than enough potential fans to support a second division team. Now, I know the NASL has larger ambitions than remaining D2, but after the last 3 months (year really), they need to focus on creating stability. Only a stable NASL is going to be able to compete with MLS. If you look at the top 50 television markets in the country, there are plenty with no MLS/USL team or even publicized plans of either. Focus on those markets first. I do not live in a major league city, so I have no dog in the fight. I want all three leagues to thrive. I’m not. Pro-rel fanatic, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it someday if there is a stable pyramid. NASL (or at least a strong D2) is key to all kinds of things from local acces to pro soccer across the country, player development, pro-rel, and national team progress. In other words, it’s essential to the growth of the game. Why can’t we build this thing in a reasonable fashion? Why does there have to be drama and ultimatums, and suicide missions? A San Dieto team might work. An NASL team in the LA area where there are already 2 MLS teams and a USL team is risky. The same goes for an NASL team in Chicago or a resurrected club in Atlanta. It doesn’t seem to be working out too well in New York. It’s clear MLS is going to poach successful NASL teams & markets, but MLS has a ceiling (30-34 franchises). After that, NASL should be free from that. Go to new markets MLS isn’t in.

    • I, for one, found the trans-continental configuration intriguing for NASL. I still think that could work. Add Quebec and Mexicali. Several attempts have been made over the years to start a team in Mexicali, so I doubt the Mex Fed would block it if it were successful.

    • Part of it has to do with the D2 League requirements that they have so many teams in cities or areas with a certain population, an points out that they have gravitated to areas were the population supports soccer, and fact not lost on the MLS who targeted the same markets. Had the NASL had their shit together they could have had teams all throughout the west (most of those now have, or will have USL teams)

  2. Wilt does these ‘studies’ with markets all the time. I’m assuming to try and get some theoretical ownership group to come out of hiding. Studies don’t mean a whole lot, I would be very surprised to see either transpire in 2017.

  3. Now why would the NASL want to target a market region (SC) that has already been discussed as a possible site for an MLS team? The NASL has three market opportunities in SO CAL that would not be interfered with by the MLS. These are; OC, One D3 team for a population of over 3 million, the Inland Empire; population of 4Million and The SF Valley, population of 2 million. These are all larger than the pops of some of the proposed MLS cities and as the target attendance for D2 teams are 5-10K, would all work.

    • LA proper does have a soccer fanbase. But I think you’re assuming that the combination of 2 LA teams won’t suck the “air” out of other soccer teams in LA to the point where PDL is about what could be managed. You’re assuming fans would rather not travel and would watch a minor league OC game versus commuting somewhere to watch 2 well funded pro teams play. If they want better than PDL why stop at NASL?

      Inland Empire has some minor league teams and might work. I don’t know if people are going to travel from there to a MLS game much. What it would probably have is a summer heat problem. This is no longer LA with moderated weather, it’s 90+ average highs and sometimes over 100.

      San Fernando Valley, I don’t know if you’re talking removed from the city enough to really support a separate team. Like OC, I’m thinking they’d just as soon watch MLS.

      Also, I think some of the population figures you’re tossing out feel like double-bookkeeping. Does LA claim the same people? Are they removed enough they might prefer small and local over big and citified? San Diego is physically separate, it only has to worry about Tijuana. A lot of these sub-LA bits you’re trying to say have their own big populations that would be the fanbases, I dunno. LA might claim those populations and the LA teams might have claimed those fans.

      They would not draw 5k. OC Blues draws about 1k being charitable.

      • LA (SMSA)has a HUGE population, if you include the Inland Empire and OC its OVER 18 Million. The pop figures for the Inland Empire and OC are US Census figures, so are slightly under the real pop. The Valley used to have a D2 team in the days of the old NASL the Skyhawks and they drew around 3-7K per game. I read a few days ago that Stings son has invested in a NPSL (D4) team in the Valley. The Inland Empire (San Berdoo/Riverside and eastward has a population of 4M that was only about 1M twenty years ago. It has only an indoor indoor soccer team and some amateur Leagues. OC has the OC Blues in the USl and a few NPSL, PDL teams and more than a few top amateur teams. Soccer is very popular in LA and has always been. I started there in ’66 as a kid and there were always ethic leagues all over the place. If it came down to it, the MLS could even support a 3rd team if it needed to. There is a strong demand, if marketed right for some good soccer teams.
        Personally I think the NASL has done terrible in marketing and I believe the USL would do a better job with a D2 League, but that’s my opinion. But the facts remain that these areas all have multi-ethnic communities were soccer has and will be popular and do get behind local teams. These areas are bigger and more populous than many of the market areas in the Midwest and south that are trying to get an MLS franchise. When you are looking as soccer from an ownership perspective, the bigger the market area and the more diverse your population (that are soccer fans), thebetter your business plan looks. The fact that the MLS is not going to squat on your territory like it would in SD is another big factor.

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