By Michael Lewis
Several National Premier Soccer League teams are ready to make the step up to professional soccer.
During league meetings in New York City last week and the week, 10 owners have agreed to have teams prepared to compete at the pro level in 2019, according to national soccer sources.
“Everything is very positive,” a source said of the meetings, adding that the league “will kick off in 2019.”
Eight clubs have given their written consent to move ahead. They include three teams from the North American Soccer League — Miami FC, Jacksonville Armada and the New York Cosmos — and Chattanooga FC, Detroit City, New Orleans Jesters, Virginia Beach and Miami United, sources said.
Two other unnamed teams have yet to sign a written agreement, according to sources.
In 2019, the teams will be situated east of the Mississippi with expansion to the west and west coast slated for 2020, sources added.
Earlier on Monday Chattanooga FC tweeted about the gathering:
“CFC board members Tim Kelly and Marshall Brock are home from a very productive and encouraging meeting with some of the most exciting minds in independent soccer. We are enthusiastic about what will unfold in the coming weeks.”
The league is planning to hold an October press conference to announce its intentions, sources said.
No other details about the league’s plans were immediately available.
The 98-team NPSL wants to create a new league called NPSL PRO under the U.S. Soccer Adult Soccer Association. The U.S. Soccer Federation, however, has said that only professionally sanctioned leagues can use the word pro, the sources. That would be any league that is considered Division I, II or III.
Amateur teams have used professional players for years. Any team can register professional players, according to USSF by-laws. Miami FC 2, which secured the NPSL championship earlier this month, runner-up FC Motown and Cosmos B, among others, deployed professional players this season.
The NPSL is considering using other words or phrases besides pro in its official name.
Among the teams that sent representatives to the pro league meetings were Miami FC 2, Cosmos B, Jacksonville Armada FC, Chattanooga FC, Detroit City, New Orleans Jesters, Milwaukee Torrent, Boston City FC, Hartford City FC, FC Arizona (Phoenix), ASC San Diego, Virginia Beach, Miami United and Asheville City SC.
League officials would not comment on the possibility of some NPSL teams entering the professional ranks.