Chattanooga summit: Prospective pro clubs grapple with next steps

A soccer summit of pro and amateur clubs interested in evaluating their options outside of MLS and the USL was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

More than two dozen current or prospective clubs, most from the amateur NPSL, attended the meeting hosted by Tim Kelly, owner of Chattanooga FC.

Kelly and Robert Palmer, owner of the Jacksonville Armada, which played the last three seasons in the NASL, were two of the facilitators of the meeting.

With the NASL on hiatus in 2018 and its future having looked bleak for some time, investors not interested in the MLS or USL franchise models have had to look elsewhere. Long-time soccer promoter Peter Wilt has been working on the NISA, which has still not yet secured final commitments and prompted some groups to look elsewhere. For those not interested in adhering to the standards at U.S. Soccer's pro divisional levels, there was talk in Chattanooga of considering the launch of a league under the USASA umbrella.

For now, most but not all of the clubs at the Chattanooga summit initially agreed to a statement of principles issued on Friday:

-- Strive to give players the chance to play the world’s game by the world’s rules;
-- Make clubs primary in U.S. soccer ecosystem;
-- Support the idea of supporter ownership;
-- Make commitment to communities permanent; and
-- Make clubs about more than just soccer.

The statement was signed by the following 26 clubs (the leagues they play in and year they launched are in parentheses):

AFC Ann Arbor (GLPL, 2015, NPSL, 2016)
AFC Mobile (GCPL, 2017)
Asheville City SC (NPSL, 2017)
Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL, 2011, NPSL, 2016)
Atlantic City FC (NPSL, 2017)
Boca Raton FC (APSL, 2015, NPSL, 2017)
Boston City FC (NPSL, 2016)
Charlotte FC (NISA applicant)
Chattanooga FC (NPSL, 2009)
Detroit City FC (NPSL, 2012)
Duluth FC (APL, 2016, NPSL, 2017)
First Team Soccer, Atlanta (former NASL bid)
Fort Worth Vaqueros (NPSL, 2014)
Greenville FC (NPSL, 2018)
Harpos FC, Boulder, CO (USSSA, 1997)
Hartford City FC (NPSL, 2017)
Jacksonville Armada (NASL, 2016)
Kingston Stockade (NPSL, 2016)
Little Rock Rangers (NPSL, 2016)
Miami FC (NASL, 2016)
Nebraska Bugeaters (independent)
Northshore United FC, Covington, LA (GCPL, 2017)
Orange County
Philadelphia Fury (ASL, 2014)
St. Louis Club Atletico (NPSL, 2018)
Tulsa Athletic (NPSL, 2013)
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