New Division 3 league NISA places first eight markers

NISA (National Independent Soccer Association), a new Division 3 men's pro league, revealed eight markets that have submitted applications to be part of its launch. It originally planned to start in the spring of 2018, but it announced its inaugural season will be in 2018 or 2019, subject to U.S. Soccer sanctioning.

Markets. The most notable market is Chattanooga, home of the NPSL's Chattanooga FC, which averaged 4,911 fans per game in 2017. It also drew 12,484 fans for a preseason friendly against Atlanta United. Four prospective markets are homes to NASL or USL teams.

*St. Louis
*NASL or USL markets.

Other applicants. NISA announced in June that it had received letters of intent to join from 10 markets. That list grew to 15, though seven markets have held their applications back for 2019  in order to meet NISA and U.S. Soccer minimum standards.

Goal. NISA plans to cap its membership at 24 teams by 2021. After that, groups would only be able to enter the league by purchasing an existing team or via a promotion-relegation structure incorporating leagues below and above it.

Competition. The USL has plans to launch a Division 3 league in 2019. It previously operated multi-tiered pro leagues, but its lone pro league was granted provisional Division 2 sanctioning early in 2017. It has been meeting with interested investors and civic groups in markets around the country -- examples: Lexington, Kentucky; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Asheville, North Carolina -- where there are currently no USL or NASL teams.

Division 3 standards. U.S. Soccer requires a Division 3 league to have eight teams whose lead owner has a worth of at least of $10 million and whose stadium seats at least 1,000. The next step for NISA is to make a presentation of its teams and plans to the U.S. Soccer board of directors on Friday in Jersey City.

NISA Co-Founder Peter Wilt: "The critical step to fully vet each market now moves into an important phase, so we can be assured of the applicants’ and the League’s success. Each successful applicant will need to show us and US Soccer that it has a proper venue, financial model, business plan, administration and ownership to assure sustainability."

4 comments about "New Division 3 league NISA places first eight markers".
  1. Fire Paul Gardner Now, August 30, 2017 at 4:53 p.m.

    Again - USL is doing it right. Putting teams in markets where there aren't any currently. NISA looks like it is taking a page out of the NASL's book by trying to move into city with pre-existing teams. Seems like a poor business model. For example, why does Miami need yet another team? It is a terrible sports city and it already has a NASL team (for now) with a MLS team on the way. What's the point?

  2. :: SilverRey :: replied, August 30, 2017 at 5:41 p.m.

    Makes no sense to me. He's talking about bringing soccer to parts of the nation that don't have it, then proceeds to put 1/2 the league in cities that do?

    Miami seems like an even deeper level of stupid.

    The whole NASL endeavor just seems so rushed to me. It feels like the are following the 'build it and they will come' mantra, but aren't putting enough thought into what happens after it's built - or even how to build it.

    Next announcement - pro/rel between an 8-team league and a 6-team league.

  3. James Knowles, August 31, 2017 at 8:06 a.m.

    Let's hope this nonsense gets denied division three status then. Peter Wilt sure seems intent on damaging the existing soccer infrastructure for someone who claims to support it so much. Yes, let's put another team in Miami in this league. And then let's add another MLS team in Miami. I'm starting a team in Miami. Whatever, who cares, right? It's not like there are existing paths for any actually open markets to follow in this tiny country...

  4. R2 Dad, August 31, 2017 at 5:10 p.m.

    Put on your Dr. Evil thinking cap. NISA gets Division 3 from Sunil/Garber, and not long after, USL gets Division 2--leaving NASL out to dry. Perhaps Wilt's exit strategy is to be acquired/absorbed/consumed by MLS/Garber with this cunning plan in mind? Sounds quite Austin Powers-ish, but plausible.

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