Without directly addressing issues of franchise defections and financial issues, the North American Soccer League issued a statement acknowledging general issues with several teams, putting the emphasis on building for the future.
Here’s the full statement:
The North American Soccer League (NASL) and its member owners are passionate about the growth of soccer in North America, and their actions and level of investment the past several years prove that commitment. In recent weeks, the league has been working through an important period in its evolution.
The league’s dedicated owners remain undaunted in the challenge to reach their long-term goals, and are in the midst of a series of meetings and discussions to ensure that the 2017 season lays the groundwork for an exciting future.
The Board remains as committed as ever to its strategy and looks forward to adding a number of new partners who share their vision for building a world-class league. The NASL also looks forward to working closely with U.S. Soccer and other professional leagues to grow and develop the game at all levels in North America.
It’s been a miserable September for NASL, with two teams rumored to be defecting to USL for 2017 and two more in serious financial shape. Yesterday we reported on the possibility of Ottawa Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies defecting to USL for the 2017 season, and the league’s leading team in terms of attendance is departing for MLS in 2017, as Minnesota United will begin play next season at TCF Bank Stadium. Second, two NASL teams are in serious disarray. We’ve documented the issues with Rayo OKC, and now there are reported that Fort Lauderdale may be going under, as the league may take over Strikers operations after team owners stopped funding operations. (The Strikers later amended that request to a loan from the league.) The issues with the Strikers are serious, but managing director Luis Cuccatti sent out a series of tweets yesterday vowing to keep the Strikers moving forward, searching for new owners. But there may not be much to buy: the team plays out of a converted cricket field (Central Broward Stadium), with attendance plummeting.
The league’s Board of Governors will meet next week, and we expect to hear more specifics for 2017 and beyond then.
Image courtesy NASL.