MIAMI, Fla. (March 27, 2013) - Ten days from now... the race to host Soccer Bowl 2013 kicks off. The North American Soccer League spring season gets underway in Fort Lauderdale, Minnesota and Tampa Bay on Saturday, April 6 with home advantage in November’s championship showpiece the prize on offer.
The defending champion Tampa Bay Rowdies welcome the Carolina RailHawks to Al Lang Stadium, rebranded beaten finalist Minnesota United takes on the regular season champion San Antonio Scorpions at the Metrodome, and FC Edmonton begins a streak of three road games away to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The Atlanta Silverbacks sit and wait until April 13 to make their bow having drawn the opening weekend bye.
The seven teams competing from April through July will do battle as the NASL implements its split-season format for the first time. The team that tops the standings when the first half of the 2013 campaign ends on the Fourth of July will advance to the season finale. The winner of the fall season, played from August 3 through November 2, will join them.
So What’s New?
Change at the top… The NASL enters the 2013 season under the leadership of a new Commissioner with Bill Peterson at the helm. No stranger to the soccer world, he spent six years working with a variety of teams, facilities and sporting events while Senior Vice President at AEG in Los Angeles. Peterson spent almost a decade working for the National Football League as President of NFL Europe and General Manager of the league’s Amsterdam Admirals. Most recently he provided advisory and event services to a variety of clients in Canada and the United States through his own firm Solve4 and is the Chairman of the USA Cycling Board of Directors.
Home Sweet Home… The Carolina RailHawks and San Antonio Scorpions both open up on the road, but fans of both teams will we welcomed to new and improved accommodation on April 13 when their teams debut at home. Carolina’s WakeMed Park has benefited from an extensive refurbishment an officially opened to a packed house of 8,054 when top Mexican side UNAM Pumas visited during preseason. The Scorpions boast Toyota Field, an 8,000-seat soccer-specific venue that is the jewel in the crown of soccer in San Antonio.
Just the one change… In a climate when being the coach of a professional soccer team is a hazardous occupation, there is only one change as Colin Miller takes over the reins in Edmonton. Appointed in November, former Canadian international Clarke aims to turn around the fortunes of a team that finished at the foot of the standings in 2012.
United we stand… Farewell Stars, hello Minnesota United FC – a name that is a tribute to the team’s vision and a three-decade long legacy of soccer in Minnesota where the NASL club new also has a new team logo, which is a strong depiction of a bird that will adorn the team uniforms and merchandise.
“Soccer is a global game,” said United owner Dr. Bill McGuire, who sees the team as and asset around which many different groups across Minnesota can unite in fandom. “We live in a diverse and world-class community that should be part of the fabric of the ‘Beautiful Game.’ Minnesota United FC will ensure that Minnesotans have a successful local professional team they can easily access and support.”
History In The Making
Five months ago today, the Tampa Bay Rowdies won the 2012 NASL crown after a thrilling penalty shootout victory at Al Lang Stadium. A 3-1 match erased the Minnesota Stars’ two-goal lead from the first leg of the final then Tampa Bay prevailed after Jeff goalkeeper Attinella made three saves from the spot kicks after the Rowdies held on through the entire extra time period despite playing a man down.
A year earlier, Minnesota had lifted the first championship of the new North American Soccer League in Florida as they held the Fort Lauderdale Strikers to a 0-0 draw having won what proved to be the decisive first leg 3-1 at home.
Waiting In The Wings
The fall half of the 2013 NASL season will mark the long-anticipated return of the New York Cosmos to the professional soccer scene. The eight-team NASL will then swell by four clubs in 2014 as the Ottawa Fury, Virginia Cavalry and the most recently announced Indianapolis franchise enter the fray. The Puerto Rico Islanders plan to return, having taken a sabbatical in 2013 to restructure their operations,
Continuing The Countdown
With nine days until Opening Kick, tomorrow the NASL considers eleven players to watch and shines the spotlight on some of the stars of the 2012 season.
|Strikers Pick Up Options For Darnell King, Aly Alberto Hassan|
|FC Edmonton-Ottawa Fury Match-up Opens 2014 Canadian Championship|
|Minnesota United Re-Signs Jamaican International Omar Daley|
|Strikers Bring Back Gonzalez, De Mujica For 2014 NASL Season|
|Throwback Thursday - Pre-NASL: Los Angeles Defeats Washington For 1967 United Soccer Association Crown|
|RailHawks Exercises Options On Contracts Of Seven Players|
|Nassau County Celebrates Cosmos Soccer Bowl Success|
|FC Edmonton Adds Goalkeeper Farago To 2014 NASL Roster|
|Four Cosmos Players Sign Contract Extensions Through 2014 NASL Season|
|Scorpions Re-Sign Defender Janicki For 2014 NASL Season|
|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|