If the NASL is to establish new teams in 2017, Southern California could be an option, as reports have linked the league to San Diego and Orange County.
At this point, the NASL is facing an uncertain future. The U.S. Soccer Federation is still waiting to make its final decision regarding what will happen to the second-division league, which has already lost three teams–Minnesota to the MLS, and Ottawa and Tampa Bay to the USL–and is dealing with questions about the statuses of Rayo OKC, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and New York Cosmos.
In the process, the USL is trying to obtain second-division status. To avoid a scenario in which it continues to lose clubs, the NASL is trying to put together expansion plans. Southern California is on the league’s radar, as it has been tied to San Diego and Orange County.
Officials are confirming that the NASL is exploring the region, but nothing has been finalized at this point. More from The Los Angeles Times:
Peter Wilt — who led the Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup title as team president and general manager, then helped put an NASL team in Indianapolis — said Wednesday that he is working with two groups to study the feasibility of placing expansion teams in Southern California.
“We’re looking at a business plan,” Wilt said. “No decisions have been made.”
Wilt declined to name his clients but said discussions have been ongoing for months in the hopes of having both teams on the field for the fall season, which begins in July. Wilt said his group, Club 9, is looking at several sites in Orange County.
However, all this may be contingent on the league surviving into next summer. The NASL, on the second tier of the U.S. soccer pyramid behind only Major League Soccer, has already lost three teams this off-season, including the three-time champion New York Cosmos, who disbanded earlier this month. Others may follow, with clubs in Florida and Oklahoma struggling to stay afloat.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Soccer Federation postponed its decision on both leagues, and indicated last week that discussions could take place through this year.
Image of NASL action courtesy Indy Eleven.