By Michael Lewis
Add the New Orleans Jesters to the list of possible teams to join the National Premier Soccer League professional circuit for the 2020 season.
The NPSL club wants to make sure it has all its ducks lined up in a row, which includes sponsorship, before taking the plunge, according to a national soccer source.
The Jesters have been long rumored interested in playing at the professional level.
“New Orleans is in the mix,” the source said.
Last season, the Jesters finished third in the Southeast Conference Division with a 7-5-2 record and 23 points, behind first-place Chattanooga FC (8-2-4, 28) and Atlanta Silverbacks (7-4-3, 24). New Orleans was eliminated in the NPSL playoffs by the Georgia Revolution, 3-2, July 10.
The new unnamed league is scheduled to kick off in 2019 with a competition called the NPSL Founders Cup, which will run from August through November after the NPSL (amateur) season is completed in early August.
As reported by FrontRowSoccer.com Tuesday, there are 11 founding members that include many teams with NPSL backgrounds or affiliations.
The list includes:
New York Cosmos, Detroit City FC, Milwaukee Torrent, Chattanooga FC, Miami United FC, Miami FC, San Diego Albion, Cal United, Cal FC, FC Arizona and Oakland Roots. A 12th team could join the league, which would allow two divisions — East and West — of six teams apiece.
A line already has been formed for clubs to join the new league in 2020 after the league takes form and hold.
That includes parties from Asheville City Soccer Club (N.C.), Cleveland SC, FC Buffalo, Fort Worth Vaqueros, Jacksonville, Fla., Virginia Beach and Seattle.
Those clubs are waiting until 2020 to give themselves enough time, as much as 15 months, to secure the proper sponsorships and stadiums.
“There are teams that want to ramp up,” the source said.
There may be other clubs joining the list of prospective candidates for the 2020, especially after the league takes form.
The NPSL could be officially unveiled as early as next week.