New NISA suffers first Showcase casualty: Philadelphia withdraws after one game

The National Independent Soccer Association, the new U.S. Soccer-sanctioned Division III men's pro league, suffered its first casualty.

Citing a "last-minute reversal" from one of its main investors, the Philadelphia Fury was forced to withdraw from the fall NISA Showcase after playing two road games and before its home opener against Atlanta SC on Saturday at Franklin Field.

“This is the best decision for the Philadelphia Fury," the league said in a statement, "and the league, as it will allow them time to prepare for Spring league play. The League Office is working closely with the Fury’s Management Team on all player-related contractual obligations. NISA’s leadership will also be working with the club to address shortcomings to resume competition for the Spring 2020 season."

The fall Showcase began with eight teams, all slated to play in the NISA in 2020. Detroit City FC and Chattanooga FC are playing in the NPSL's six-team Members Cup but are also playing exhibitions against NISA teams ahead of their move to the NISA in 2020.

The current NISA teams range from established clubs like Miami FC, which played in the NASL and is the two-time defending NPSL champion, to start-up teams like San Diego 1904 FC and the Oakland Roots.

The Fury takes its name from the old NASL team that played in 1978-80 and whose investors included Mick Jagger, Rick Wakeman, Peter Frampton and Paul Simon. More recently, the current Fury CEO Matt Driver operated the Philadelphia Fury in the American Soccer League, a  USASA Region I league he ran for three years (2014-17).

The Fury's only Showcase game was an 8-1 loss at Miami FC. It also played Detroit City FC in an exhibition and lost, 1-0.

Five of the seven NISA teams have played home games. The league has not released attendance figures for the games, and media coverage has been sketchy.

The Roots' strong community organizing effort has paid off with packed crowds at Laney College's junior college football stadium for a league game against Cal United Strikers FC and a friendly against Mexico's FC Juarez. Crowd estimates ranged to as high as 5,000.

On the other hand, San Diego 1904 FC, backed by Eden Hazard and Demba Ba, drew an announced crowd of just 3,028 fans -- San Diego Tribune termed the crowd count "a little generous" -- for its home debut at 70,000-seat SDCCU Stadium, a 3-1 win over the Cal United Strikers FC.

Atlanta SC played its first game at Lupo Family Field on the campus of Life University in suburban Marietta. Miami FC opened at Barry University's Buccaneer Field while the Los Angeles Force used Rio Hondo College's soccer stadium, part of a $3.8 million soccer complex that opened in 2016.

All three stadiums hold less than 2,000 seats, which is permissible under U.S. Soccer's sanctioning requirements for Division III leagues like NISA and the first-year USL League One, which has 10 teams.

The best-supported of the NISA teams is Detroit City FC, which drew 5,859 fans at Keyworth Stadium for the Fury game. A match against Mexico's Atlas during the recent FIFA break drew 7,478 fans.
1 comment about "New NISA suffers first Showcase casualty: Philadelphia withdraws after one game".
  1. R2 Dad, September 19, 2019 at 1:43 p.m.

    Hear that? That’s the sound of USSF not caring that another team and/or league blows up. It’s MLS/SUM or  nothing. 

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