The NASL is pleased to have received confirmation from U.S. Soccer that it has retained Division II status. This news helps provide important stability to the NASL, which enters the 2017 season with eight clubs.
It is, however, important to acknowledge that 2016 was a challenging year for the league. All NASL club owners therefore wish to pay tribute to the patience shown by their fans and partners in 2016, especially over the last several weeks. The NASL also wishes to thank U.S. Soccer and other stakeholders within the sport for the support and time given to discussions with the league recently.
NASL club owners are committed to delivering a new era for the league in which a new direction and vision is essential. The NASL and Bill Peterson, Commissioner of the NASL since 2012, have amicably agreed to part ways, effective immediately. Rishi Sehgal, Director of Business Development and Legal Affairs, will become Interim Commissioner of the NASL. The process has already begun to find a permanent Commissioner. The club owners would like to thank Bill for his tireless efforts to grow the NASL and his dedication and commitment to the league during his tenure. On leaving the NASL, Bill said:
“The last four years have been incredibly exciting and challenging. The league and clubs accomplished so much during this time and I am very proud to have been a part of it. I am especially proud of the effort and accomplishments of so many others along the way. There is a lot of work still to be done and now is the time to allow someone else to come in and lead the next phase of development for the NASL. I would like to thank the owners, clubs, coaches, players, sponsors, staff, and fans for all of their support and I wish the NASL much success in the future”.
The new Commissioner will inherit a league strong and primed for growth. By severing ties with Traffic Sports USA in November 2016, the NASL, more than ever, has created a strong foundation with a great opportunity to grow the league sustainably over the coming years. With new owners ready to join the league, the NASL is already showing new growth under the direction believed to be necessary to move the league to the next level. In addition, there are a number of groups that have been in discussions with the NASL about committing to the league in the next 12 months.
The new NASL will have three priorities going forward. It will continue its responsibility to work collaboratively with soccer stakeholders across North America to help grow the game. Second, the league will take a more prudent approach to expansion with a more rigorous vetting process by creating an Expansion Committee. Lastly, there will be a focus on long-term growth and as such, the NASL has begun implementing financial sustainability measures to grow the league. To achieve these priorities, the NASL will be investing in the leadership, skills, and capabilities required to maximize its potential.
As the NASL enters the 2017 season, club owners are more committed than ever to enhancing the experience and excitement for soccer fans in North America for years to come.
NASL club owners would like to thank their fans and partners as they work to create an even stronger and more exciting league in the years ahead.
The eight clubs are FC Edmonton, Indy Eleven, Jacksonville Armada FC, Miami FC, New York Cosmos, North Carolina FC, Puerto Rico FC, and San Francisco Deltas.