NISA approved an application from a Chicago group headed by long-time soccer executive Peter Wilt
to begin play in the 2021 fall season.
Wilt worked on the NISA startup as co-founder with the late Jack Cummins
before launching Forward Madision FC in the USL League One and working for the USL as a consultant in fan development.
He has been involved in the launch of other Chicago area teams, including the Fire, which won the MLS title in its first season in 1998, and the original Red Stars in WPS. Bruce Merivale-Austin
, a British citizen, is the primary team owner. The decision on a team name will not be made until January, but it has already hired a chief operating officer, Night Train Veeck
, the grandson of legendary White Sox owner Bill Veeck Jr
NISA played with eight teams in its abbreviated fall season.
Seven will return in 2021: Cal United Strikers, Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, LA Force, the Michigan Stars FC, New Amsterdam FC and New York Cosmos. The Oakland Roots will move to the USL Championship.
San Diego 1904 FC and Stumptown Athletic sat out the fall season, while the New Jersey Teamsters and Maryland Bobcats will begin play in 2021.
“Having a club in Chicago is a powerful statement as we create an open system of quality, independent professional and amateur clubs across the country,” NISA commissioner John Prutch
said in a statement. “NISA has rapidly grown its foundation through expansion, affiliates with amateur leagues, and augmenting our structure. We couldn’t have a better leader alongside than our former colleague Peter to bring NISA to the great soccer market of Chicago