[NASL 2014 COUNTDOWN] The North American Soccer League will stick with its spring and fall championships for the 2014 season, but it will also add the two clubs with the next best overall records from the combined seasons in what it is calling "The Championship" that will decide the Soccer Bowl champion.
The new format was approved by the NASL Board of Governors meeting in Jacksonville. The semifinals will be played Nov. 8-9 and the final will take place the following weekend of Nov. 15-16.
In 2013, only the spring and fall champions of the split-season campaigns that had been introduced for the first time survived to the postseason. The New York Cosmos quickly ran away with the fall title, leaving six other teams with nothing to play for for several weeks. The spring champion Atlanta Silverbacks were already through to the Soccer Bowl, which they hosted, but a poor second half left them in poor shape for the final and ultimately contributed to the exit of their coach, Brian Haynes.
There will be 10 teams in 2014 with the addition of Indy Eleven and the Ottawa Fury. The Jacksonville Armada will enter in 2015 along with Virginia Cavalry FC and unnamed Oklahoma City team to make 13 teams.
Virginia was supposed to begin play in 2014 but a delay in completion of the new stadium it will share with the baseball Loudoun Hounds forced it push back its start to 2015.
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson confirmed there were some ownership issues with Virginia ("some ownership reorganization that started with the delay in the stadium being built") and Oklahoma City ("we have to ramp up a couple of things behind the scenes") but he was confident they will play in 2015.