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Sources: NASL aiming for 8-10 team league in 2017


Despite both confirmed and reported exits of several teams from the league, the NASL is still pushing to take the field in 2017.

Sources tell SBI that discussions are still taking place among the league’s core owners regarding plans for the 2017 season. The hope¬†would be to take the field with eight-to-ten teams in 2017 while aiming to approach 12-to-14 teams in 2018. According to the sources, there are no guarantees, given the tumultuous nature of expansion, but the league is pushing to add teams from several interested expansion groups.

With that said, several of those teams would need to be ready to go by 2017. Sources within the league tell SBI the aim is to introduce a few teams in 2017 while a majority would join for the 2018 season. The league is already set to introduce one team, the San Francisco Deltas, which was confirmed as an expansion side earlier this year.

According to one source, a “vast majority” of the league’s owners would be on board with a plan that sees the league move forward with eight-to-ten teams. Still, meetings are ongoing as those within the league as it looks to hash out a plan of action heading into the new season.

So far, it has been confirmed that Minnesota United, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury FC will be moving on from the NASL’s ranks. The Loons are bound for MLS, while the Rowdies and Fury FC bolted for an affiliation with the USL.

Reports have repeatedly linked several other sides with uncertainty, including the league’s winningest team, the New York Cosmos. Cosmos chairman Seamus O’Brien recently spoke out against the reported concerns with the club, which includes reported debt edging close to $30 million. According to O’Brien, the club is healthy, but will not play in the USL or a gutted NASL if the league cannot find new teams.

The Jacksonville Armada are also facing an uncertain future, as players were reportedly released on Wednesday, according to Empire of Soccer. Meanwhile, the recently-rebranded North Carolina FC remains in the fold for the time being, but recently announced MLS ambitions. Then, there are the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Rayo OKC, both of whom still have uncertain ownership situations.

That leaves Miami FC, FC Edmonton, Indy Eleven and Puerto Rico FC, each of whom has remained relatively quiet throughout the process.

Despite the recent troubles, NASL’s remaining teams are still pushing forward as the board continues to hammer out details, but the results of meetings over the coming days and weeks will determine whether NASL makes it to 2017.


  1. The issue that has not been discussed is NASL in this reduced form may not qualify for D2 status under US Soccer requirements. Even at last year’s levels, the NASL had to get a waiver to continue to compete at that level. I can’t see how the league would get approval with so few teams. The other part of this is USL’s application to D2 status and US Soccer’s reluctance to grant 2 leagues the same role. I have no doubt US Soccer has been trying to get NASL teams to move to the USL and then grant the USL D2 status. This would explain all the meetings between US Soccer, USL and some NASL teams.

    The other concern for NASL is just how viable is any type of competition with so few teams that are so widely dispersed even assuming they get a waiver for DS status. This is one of the reasons the Cosmos stated they would not participate in such a reduced league. Even with an 8 team league, for a 28 game season, you would have to play every other team 4 times during the season, surely an unattractive schedule. Then add the massive distances to play each team and the economics become untenable very quickly.

    As a couple of people have mentioned. I cannot understand why someone would want to invest in the NASL under the current situation.

  2. I agree with everyone that this is a sinking ship, but I am rooting for them. US soccer has been a sinking ship way too many times before, but it survives or moves on.

    I disagree with NERevs above, I don’t think that anything they are doing is hurting US soccer. Clogging the second division, what does that mean. Maybe USL picks up some more talent for a league that isn’t dying?

    We need strong soccer for this country. I hope they figure it out.

  3. I have admiration for what Peter Wilt has achieved in the past, but have no idea why he would want to get involved with this version of NASL under its current management.

  4. You wonder about the financial strength of these teams, as Peterson could not find teams to add when he had eleven signed up. If the league starts in 2017, it may not complete the season, which would be sad for the fans of these clubs.

  5. No matter how much the NASL believes in their philosophy, they are the only ones, and they are blocking the growth of US soccer by clogging the 2nd tier of the pyramid. Join up with the USL already. As a wise man once said, “If we’re wrong together, we can still be right.”

  6. Peter Wilt must be trying to pull the strings to keep this going with his Chicago project as well as his reported work with a few other expansion cities. This is a sinking ship that is on fire and out of gas.

  7. What’s the point? They’re going to be in the same place or worse after next year. Edmonton FC will be joining CPL in 2018. I can’t imagine any expansion team would be looking to join NASL. Seems like a sinking ship.

  8. more like a five – eight at most, team league with 1 on the west coast, 1 in northern canada, 1 in puerto rico – wow good luck. got to admire their tenacity.

    so does this mean that USSF re-up’ed them as DII and told USL to wait?

    • This means they were too stupidly stubborn to accept whatever MLS/USL offered, which while perhaps not a gold train was probably something beneficent like survival.

      Basically a violin quartet playing as the Titanic sinks.

      • Would you have taken it IV?

        I wouldn’t, they are trying to be top league, not lock into a minor league. what would the point of locking into minor league be….to try to get into MLS or be fine being a minor league. Nothing wrong with either of those, but I am thinking most of the teams left don’t want that. Nothing wrong with that either.

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