August 29 – The second third tier US professional league opens for business this weekend when Oakland Roots meet California United Strikers in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) inaugural 2019 fall season.
Eight teams will contest the opening ‘Showcase’ competition that will run through to mid-November.
Oakland Roots, California United Strikers, San Diego 1904 and Los Angeles Force will play in the Western Conference, while Atlanta, Philadelphia Fury, Miami FC and Stumptown Athletic will form an Eastern Conference.
The East and West Coast Champions will automatically qualify for the NISA playoffs in the Spring of 2020.
A mix of newly formed franchises and existing clubs taking the next step into professional football, in 2020 they will be joined by five more teams: Baton Rouge, Connecticut, Providence, Chattanooga and Detroit.
NISA has been a long time in formation but arrives in the US market with a broadcast partner in the form streaming service MyCujoo, and Hummel as an official kit partner for its clubs. Hummel will also be the official league ball for NISA’s inaugural season.
“We’ve made substantial progress in recent months and our clubs are readying to take the pitch this Fall with our NISA Showcase,” said NISA Commissioner John Prutch. “We are particularly excited about the NISA Challenge Cup on September 7th in Los Angeles to officially kickoff the fall competition.”
NISA is a new beast for the US soccer market in that it will play its season in line with European leagues, though split into Fall and Spring schedules. The league has also said that once it gets to 24 teams it will introduce promotion and relegation structures – something else that doesn’t exist in the MLS or the USL’s tier 2 and 3 leagues.
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