December 15, 2016
By Michael Lewis
Source: NASL hopes to have 8-10 teams in 2017
The North American Soccer League is making plans to go ahead with its 2017 season.
With talk and rumors that the league would merge with the United Soccer League, the NASL plans to have an 8-10 team league next year, according to a reliable soccer source.
"That is the goal," the source said. "Not every i is dotted or t is crossed," the source said.
The league ended the 2016 campaign with 12 franchises, but several clubs have left for other leagues since then. Minnesota United has joined Major League Soccer and the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury FC have bolted to the USL. The Jacksonville Armada reportedly is set to join the USL.
The source did not know whether the Cosmos, who have ceased operations and released all of their players, would be a part of the 2017 schedule. Rayo OKC and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers are also on shaky financial ground.
The NASL has plans to expand to 12-14 teams for the 2018 season, although some new clubs could join the league for next year, said the source, which could not say which cities may join the league.
The league plans to add a team in San Francisco for 2017. At the present time, it would be the lone NASL squad on the west coast.
Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, Hartford, San Diego and Chicago are interested in NASL franchises for 2018 or beyond, according to another source.
No timetable for an announcement and/or a decision has been announced yet.
On Dec. 6, the U.S. Soccer board of directors postponed a decision on sanctioning or re-certification of Division 2 and Division 3 professional leagues. That would include the NASL and USL.