After several weeks of social-media hints, the Division III National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) announced an eight-team lineup for a Fall 2019 showcase.
The eight teams in the NISA Fall 2019 Competition: San Diego 1904 FC, Cal United Strikers FC (Fullerton), Atlanta SC, Philadelphia Fury, Stumptown Athletic (Charlotte), Miami FC, Los Angeles and Oakland Roots SC (playing out of Laney College). League officials say they expect more teams to sign up for a Spring 2020 season.
NISA will crown two champions in the NISA Fall 2019 competition: an East Coast Champion and a West Coast Champion of the NISA Showcase, each of which will automatically qualify for the NISA playoffs in the Spring of 2020.
There are some interesting backstories to some of the teams. Miami FC was part of NASL when that league went under. San Diego 1904 FC was slated to join NASL and, after that league went under, had negotiated for a USL Championship slot before going the NISA route, backed by an ownership group that includes active players Demba Ba and Eden Hazard. Ownership says the team has yet to finalize a stadium lease.