If there's Division 2 soccer next year, it will stretch from Alberta to the Caribbean, and according to an announcement this morning, the locales will also include Atlanta and suburban Minneapolis.
After meeting in Miami earlier this week, the team owners who comprise the North American Soccer League (NASL) announced this morning that they are submitting an amended bid for Division 2 sanctioning from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).
The amended bid now proposes an eight-team league, with 75 percent of the clubs American (i.e. non-Canadian).
In addition to the Atlanta Silverbacks, a team that has been dormant for two seasons, and NSC Minnesota, which faced severe financial challenges at the end of last season in the USSF D-2 Pro League but appears to have located fresh investment, the proposed league will include the Carolina RailHawks, Miami FC, Puerto Rico Islanders, Montreal Impact, FC Edmonton FC and FC Tampa Bay.
Conspicuously absent from the eight-team bid is AC St. Louis, whose principal, Jeff Cooper, was once a leader of the NASL bid. His star fell after AC St. Louis nearly collapsed mid-season (and St. Louis Athletica, the women's soccer team also owned by Cooper's group, did fold mid-season). AC St. Louis is currently in the process of securing new ownership—but as usual in lower-division soccer, that process can only be viewed through a glass darkly. We'll have to wait for a formal announcement—all the rest seems to be on message boards.
Right now, NASL's future hinges on a Nov. 21 meeting of the USSF Board of Directors in Toronto. Stay tuned.
Full release here:
North American Soccer League Concludes Successful AGM and Finalizes USSF Application
Teams in Minnesota and Atlanta Added for 2011 Season
November 10, 2010 — The North American Soccer League (“NASL”) recently concluded its 2010 Annual General Meeting held in Miami, Florida on November 7th and 8th. The meeting was highlighted by the approval of two additional teams for the 2011 season - the NSC Minnesota Stars and the Atlanta Silverbacks - and their inclusion in the application to the United States Soccer Federation for sanctioning as a Division II league. The completed application, which was originally submitted with six teams on September 28, 2010, was submitted to the Federation immediately following the conclusion of the meeting.
The application also includes San Antonio (which will commence play in 2012) and an additional team to be announced (which will commence play in 2013). The NASL is looking forward to favorable consideration of the application by the Board of Directors of the USSF at its meeting on November 21 in Toronto, Canada.
“This is an exciting time for the NASL as it nears the finish line in its two year quest for second division sanctioning from the USSF. We were encouraged by fans to return second division soccer to Atlanta after a two season hiatus and are thrilled that over twenty years of continuous professional play in Minnesota will continue in 2011 and beyond ” said Aaron Davidson CEO of the NASL.
Club owners and general managers will continue working on developing the schedule for the 2011 season over the coming weeks. The NASL plans to release the opening weekend schedule of games later this month.