[NASL] Former television executive David Downs, who was brought in to head up the North American Soccer League for its launch in 2011, will step down from his commissioner's post after completing the 2012 season. He has informed the league’s Board of Governors that he intends to retire and move back to the New York area.
“I’m so proud of what the NASL has accomplished in just its first two seasons and am confident that this league has a great future in the North American soccer landscape,” said Downs. “Soccer continues to grow as a participant and spectator sport here, and the NASL is perfectly poised to deliver entertainment for our fans, while serving to boost the sport’s reach across the continent and offer professional soccer players a chance to showcase their considerable skills.”
Downs previously worked as executive director of the USA bid committee that organized the U.S. bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.
Before that, he was president of Univision Sports and senior vice president of programming at ABC Sports.
The NASL has formed a search committee to identify a new commissioner and has retained recruiting firm Odgers Berndtson.
The NASL is U.S. soccer's second division. It again had eight teams in 2012. Following the move of the Montreal Impact, the San Antonio Scorpions joined the league. They won the regular-season title and averaged more than 9,000 fans a game, more than double any other club.
But defending champion Minnesota's future is in doubt as it is seeking new owners. FC Edmonton, last in attendance, is making cutbacks.
The New York Cosmos will join the NASL in 2013 and play at Hofstra Stadium on Long Island. Ottawa will begin play in 2014 upon the completion of the Lansdowne stadium project
2012 NASL Attendance
1. San Antonio 9,176
2. Atlanta 4,505
3. Carolina 3,883
4. Fort Lauderdale 3,615
5. Tampa Bay 3,116
6. Minnesota 2,796
7. Puerto Rico 1,864
8. Edmonton 1,525