The North American Soccer League has likely played its last season. On Tuesday, the league announced it was canceling the 2018 season. That's after it announced in January it would not play in the
spring but switch to a fall-spring calendar and begin play later in the year.
The announcement came four days after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a District Court's decision
denying the NASL's request for an
injunction requiring that U.S. Soccer sanction it as a Division 2 league for 2018.
By then, the NASL was down to six teams: four holdovers from the 2017 season -- New York Cosmos,
Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC and Puerto Rico FC -- and two California expansion teams -- 1904 FC in the San Diego area and Orange County-based California United FC.
The Cosmos, Armada
and Miami FC will field teams in the NPSL in 2018. California United FC has a team in the UPSL, and 1904 FC announced plans to enter the USL in 2019.
The 2017 champion San Francisco
Deltas and FC Edmonton folded, and North Carolina FC and Indy Eleven earlier made plans to move to the USL.
The NASL barely survived into 2017 after it lost five teams. Minnesota United
was granted an expansion team in MLS, Ottawa and Tampa Bay moved to the USL, and Ft. Lauderdale and Rayo OKC folded.
U.S. Soccer only granted provisional sanctioning to the NASL for 2017
after the Cosmos, who were on the verge of folding, were sold to Rocco Commisso
"The focus of the antitrust suit to date has been obtaining a preliminary injunction to save the
2018 season," NASL interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal
said in a statement. "Unfortunately, with USSF's decision and the loss of the preliminary injunction, playing the 2018 season is no longer a
While saying the NASL and its clubs consider their options on the field for 2019, Sehgal confirmed the league will go ahead with its legal fights:
-- The NASL
seeks a permanent injunction
to eliminate U.S. Soccer's
divisional structure, allowing leagues to operate without designations and without the Division 1 classification that, the NASL argues, gives MLS an advantage.
-- The NASL has also filed a civil suit
against members of the USSF's board of directors for
breach of their fiduciary duties to the NASL in the handling of the sanctioning decision. It is seeking injunctive, monetary -- not less than $100 million -- and declaratory relief.