CHICAGO – The National Independent Soccer Association this week approved the application of a Peter Wilt-led team for a Chicago market club, it was announced Thursday morning.

Wilt’s legacy in the development of the American game has included his role as co-founder of NISA in 2017. The club will begin play in the 2021 fall season.

The league announced Chicago NISA’s application in September. While Wilt is playing the major development role for Chicago NISA, Bruce Merivale-Austin is recognized as the primary team owner. Merivale-Austin is a British citizen and managing partner and principal of DM Partners Asia, a UK multi-generational single-family office based in Singapore since 2005.

Wilt participated in the Fall Championship Tournament Media Day re-affirming his investment team’s belief in the vision NISA has for a merit-based structure.

“Those days at the tournament spent connecting with league executives, players and coaches only added to our excitement for joining NISA,” Wilt said in a statement. “Today we launch a club that will engage the people of Chicagoland for an inclusive, diverse and community-based organization.”

Chicago NISA launched its website ( today where fans can offer up ideas for team name and team colors. Open for name submissions through Nov. 22, the club will follow up with an advisory fan poll with the best and most interesting suggestions. The polling will continue into January when the club plans to announce the formal team name and colors.

The club will announce executives such as chief operating officer, chief revenue officer and technical director/head coach over the next two months starting today with Chief Operating Officer Night Train Veeck.

“Having a club in Chicago is a powerful statement as we create an open system of quality, independent professional and amateur clubs across the country,” NISA commissioner John Prutch said in a statement. “NISA has rapidly grown its foundation through expansion, affiliates with amateur leagues, and augmenting our structure. We couldn’t have a better leader alongside than our former colleague Peter to bring NISA to the great soccer market of Chicago.”

Wilt has led seven previous start-ups, including Chicago’s two first division clubs, the Chicago Fire (MLS) and Chicago Red Stars (NWSL). He also has launched and operated several lower division clubs including USL Championship’s Indy Eleven and USL League One’s Forward Madison.WELCO