Dear NISA Followers,
As we head into December, I would like to provide an update on the progress – and in some areas lack of progress – of the National Independent Soccer Association.
After announcing three months ago that we had received eight applications from 15 signed letters of intent to join, NISA has reviewed and vetted all eight applications. Three of the eight applications have been accepted, four have been returned with requests for improvements and one has been rejected. The three that have been accepted are from Chattanooga, Connecticut and Miami. The four seeking improvements are Charlotte, Omaha, Milwaukee and St. Louis. The Phoenix application has been declined.
Additional active conversations about joining NISA are ongoing with 20 other markets. These include nine existing amateur teams, four existing professional teams and seven groups that do not yet have a team in any league.
We expected to be further along confirming teams to join. The delay in securing teams has pushed NISA’s expected kickoff to post-2018 World Cup in either July 2018 or spring 2019. The delay is disappointing, because we are all anxious to get started building a new open system pyramid for American soccer. It will however, provide more time to build the foundation of the structure and gain support from all necessary sectors including fans, investors, broadcasters, sponsors, players and administrators.
There are several key events in the near term that will help shape the development of NISA and the new open system pyramid:
- Hearing on appeal of the NASL injunction request denial, December 15
NISA desires to connect with the NASL as its Division II partner in an open system promotion and relegation pyramid. The NASL sanctioning rejection and subsequent legal actions have halted discussions on that front.
If the NASL wins its appeal, we hope to resume discussions with the NASL to partner with them in an open system pyramid. The NASL has stated in court that overturning the injunction denial is necessary to keep the league alive. If the appeal is denied and the NASL folds as they have said in court they would, then NISA would be prepared to accept applications from both its existing and applicant teams.
NISA would also like to work with a top amateur league to create a Division IV league. The Division IV pro league would be a long season semi-pro league with budgets of $300,000 to $700,000 and link NISA’s Division III with top amateur leagues via promotion and relegation. We are looking to discuss this with any top national amateur leagues or do so independently.
- United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) Convention, January 17-21
This important annual event is a gathering for all sectors of the American soccer industry. While nominally an event for soccer coaches, it is also attended by soccer players, administrators, investors, manufacturers, fans, broadcasters and sponsors. NISA will be attending the convention and hosting various constituents for presentations, meetings and networking. If you will be attending the convention and would like to discuss NISA and the new open system pyramid in person, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- USSF AGM and elections, February 8-11
The Annual US Soccer Annual General Meeting is normally a low-profile event that is only observed closely by its participants. Every four years, the election of its president elevates the event’s importance, but there has not been a seriously contested race for two decades. This year’s election has a crowded field with at least seven announced candidates intending to supplant Sunil Gulati. Most of the challengers are advocating ways to change the current landscape of American soccer as a reaction to the US failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup Final. Candidate Eric Wynalda has been the most vocal about supporting promotion and relegation. He and I have spoken at length about the need for pro/rel and NISA’s role in building the open system. His support would certainly be an advantage to NISA if he is elected.
The results of these three scheduled events along with many variable factors will ultimately determine if NISA achieves its goals in the short and long term. It’s an incredibly important time for the American soccer landscape. There are no guarantees and there are many factors working against us. But I am hopeful that enough people and institutions will recognize the value of NISA’s vision to move the plan for an open system forward. Once in place, I am confident that the new pyramid will build out quickly and attract significant investment that will grow the game immensely in the United States.
Very Best Regards,
Peter J. Wilt
National Independent Soccer Association
317-292-7993 (c) | 312.464-9842 (o)
Web: www.nisaofficial.com | Twitter: @peterwilt1
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