NASL owners respond to U.S. Soccer Division 2 decision

With three clubs directly impacted by Hurricane Irma and working to support their players and staffs, NASL clubs had more urgent considerations.

But several owners addressed U.S. Soccer board of directors' initial decision not to extend Division 2 sanctioning. most notably Rocco Commisso, whose decision to take over the New York Cosmos saved the league in January.

Commisso termed the decision “completely arbitrary and unfair" and vowed to reverse it, saying it was his expectation when he took over the team that "would allow us to play at the Division 2 level long enough for me to work with the NASL’s leadership to strengthen and grow our league.”

Jax owner ready to own four. Robert Palmer, who bought the league-run Jacksonville Armada this summer, tweeted that his official response was "We got this." He also tweeted that "My math skills may not be the best ... but I'll own 4 to save the future. Wouldn't make me the first to do it and probably not the last."

He was referring to launching RP Soccer teams in Oklahoma, the Carolinas and Tennessee, though not necessarily NASL teams. Separately, the Armada's technical director, Nathan Walter, tweeted that the club was seeking three coaches willing to relocated with U.S. Soccer or UEFA A licenses.

FC Edmonton seeks sustainable situation. Tom Fath and brother Dave have owned FC Edmonton since 2009, making them the longest-serving owners in the NAS.

Tom Fath told the Edmonton Journal he is committed to soccer in Edmonton, where the big issue is getting a soccer-specific stadium, and was ready see out the year and how things transpire with the NASL.

“We believe in soccer,” he said. “At the same time, while the attendance has improved, it still has a way to go to become sustainable. But currently, we’re still committed to soccer.”

The NASL currently has eight teams and plans to add teams in San Diego and Orange County in 2018. In a statement to reporter Bob Williams, California United FC said is was disappointed with the BOD's decision and remained "focused on the 2017 NASL Season and committed to delivering the best possible soccer experience."

North Carolina FC, which is seeking an MLS franchise, took a more neutral position, tweeting that it is "committed to playing at highest level in 2018 and beyond."

9 comments about "NASL owners respond to U.S. Soccer Division 2 decision".
  1. Gus Keri, September 9, 2017 at 7 a.m.

    I think US soccer should give NASL time to build their league. It's not life or death issue.

  2. don Lamb replied, September 9, 2017 at 10:52 a.m.

    They've had six years. That six years has been a complete disaster in just about every sense of its existence.

  3. R2 Dad replied, September 10, 2017 at 9:36 p.m.

    My understanding from reading the tea leaves is that NASL was getting a re-boot last year, resetting the clock don says has been running for six years. If that's the case, they should get a second shot. Otherwise, why didn't USSF just take away Division 2 status then instead of stranding new owners? Or do the only owners USSF care about are MLS and USL owners? I think if USSF is so concerned about looking "neutral", they should have met to force a merger behind closed doors.

  4. don Lamb replied, September 10, 2017 at 11:46 p.m.

    "Force a merger?" Uhh, no thanks. The year grace period was probably a chance to get up to 12 teams, which they could not do. Given the history, I'm sure NASL was full of promises in terms of what they could get done over that time, and then, what do ya know, they couldn't actually get anything done at all outside of have their newest club already basically throw in the towel. It seems like NASL is more interested in filing lawsuits and otherwise bitching than they are with doing all of the hard things that it takes to build a successful league. If they had spent as much energy doing honest work as they have puffing their chest, they might be in a much different spot right now.

  5. don Lamb replied, September 10, 2017 at 11:47 p.m.

    As far as doing the hard work and actually building something, see the UPSL. The NASL is a joke, and USSF doesn't owe them jack squat.

  6. R2 Dad replied, September 11, 2017 at 11:32 a.m.

    Interesting MLS started out with 10 but after 9 years they still had only 10 teams. So patience only counts if you're Garber and Sunil has nothing better is going on in the mean time? Hmmm. So now the options are, pay $150 million to Garber or go to obscurity/USL. No wonder Eisner went to Portsmouth.

  7. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 11, 2017 at 5:20 p.m.

    NASL's whole business model is competing with established teams and leagues rather than going after untapped markets like USL is doing and hoping nostalgia for the Cosmos would carry the day. Looks like it failed.

  8. don Lamb replied, September 12, 2017 at 12:27 a.m.

    R2 - You want to talk about who the USSF owes patience and loyalty to? Look at the histories of the two leagues. NASL: Represented all the wrong things and existed in turbulence for 16 before ending When it folded, it buried the game in this country for most of a decade and left very few lasting positives like a few legacies than continued as youth clubs Washington Diplomats, Clearwater Chargers, etc.), continued somehow as a professional club (only a couple), or which folded and then were brought back... which brings us to the reboot of NASL which has had all of the issues of the original NASL (and then some) without any of the excitement. Meanwhile, the key investor in the new NASL was indicted in scandalous charges that put the entire league in legal jeopardy. The history of NASL would not be complete without mentioning the lawsuits that they have unsuccessfully filed. Then there is MLS: MLS comes along as the league represents the actual reboot of the actual reboot of the game in the US. The promise of the league secured the World Cup. It's core ownership groups were solid and served as a buoy during some seriously lean times. They rode their conservative approach and made good decisions as they pioneered growth in the sport that had never been had before. The league began making the investment in the permanent infrastructure that is so vital. It evolved, changing its rules and adapting to its growth while planning for more future growth. Eventually it developed to the point where it is leading the way for youth development. During all of this growth, crowds have steadily risen and media investment has dramatically increased. Improvements in player and coach quality have led to a continually rising standard of play. As the league still moves forward it does not only demnostrate the potential to build out a top flight, but to spearhead the entire movement that will push the sport to the top of the world. There, literally, is no decision when it comes to where the priority should lie when it comes to the USSF and its relationship with the professional leagues.

  9. Paul Berry, September 11, 2017 at 1:15 p.m.

    After 6 years with only 2 teams surviving the course you just have to wonder what's the point. If NASL had stuck to its original plan of forming a strong second division, rather than going after MLS, it may have stood a chance.

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