The National Independent Soccer Association will have a team in Connecticut, the fledgling league announced Monday.
The club’s specific location, ownership and team name will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Headquartered in Chicago, NISA is ready to confirm several additional markets through a series of staggered announcements that will run through mid-December. It has applied to the U.S. Soccer Federation, for sanctioning as a professional league. NISA expects to begin play in August 2019.
“Next year, our clubs will excite fans across the nation,” NISA president Bob Watkins said in a statement. “We have been eager to start rolling out our clubs for some time. Connecticut is one of the best soccer markets in America and we are excited to bring our community-based approach to the game to the Constitution State.”
Connecticut has long been a regional hotbed for soccer supporters. Connecticut was the eighth-best TV viewing market for the English Premier League in 2017-2018, despite only being a top 30 media market nationwide. It is also home of one of the largest American Outlaw chapters in the nation.
“Connecticut’s soccer community has a long history of supporting the game, particularly our U.S. national teams,” Watkins said. “The supporter culture in Connecticut is outstanding so we are looking forward to contributing to that.”
Unlike other American soccer leagues, NISA will play a fall-to-spring season. Having the league run August through May, with a winter break, is standard throughout international soccer but unusual in America. It is hoped that NISA’s adoption will be a first step towards bringing U.S. soccer in-line with the standard business practices of the worldwide game, such as the international transfer window.
In a move away from the closed franchise model that is prevalent in American soccer, NISA operates an open system with no entry fees. This allows its member clubs to run comparatively higher payrolls rather than paying entry fees that can run in the millions. It allows clubs to invest in the long-term assets such as stadiums, infrastructure, and youth academies.