The has been another development in the effort to bring pro soccer to Omaha, with the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) emerging as a potential option.
On Wednesday, the NISA revealed that Omaha is one of eight markets that is represented in applications to join the league for its inaugural season. Plans for the third division NISA were revealed earlier this year, and the league is currently expected to begin play in either 2018 or 2019.
This is not the first time in recent months that Omaha has been linked to an effort to establish a soccer club. Earlier this year, news surfaced that a group that includes Gary Green–owner of baseball’s Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League)–was leading a push to establish a USL team in the city as early as 2019.
The Omaha World Herald says that Green’s effort for a USL club is “still ongoing,” and provides more information behind the proposal for the NISA:
Tim Pendrell, former executive director of Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce, is leading the local organization effort. The group is still searching for a lead investor, the league’s co-founder Peter Wilt said.
The Chicago-headquartered NISA plans to apply for Division 3 sanctioning in U.S. Soccer next month, which would place the league two tiers below Major League Soccer in the American soccer hierarchy.
Along with Omaha, the NISA revealed seven other applicants. Those prospective markets include Charlotte, Chattanooga, Connecticut, Miami, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and St. Louis.
“We are pleased with the applicants as well as the people and the vision behind each application,” NISA Co-Founder Peter Wilt said in a statement. “The critical step to fully vet each market now moves into an important phase, so we can be assured of the applicants’ and the League’s success. Each successful applicant will need to show us and US Soccer that it has a proper venue, financial model, business plan, administration and ownership to assure sustainability.”