CHICAGO – The National Independent Soccer Association goes west in its amateur league affiliation with the Mountain Premier League, it was announced Monday.

The MPL is a part of NISA’s vigorous growth in affiliations over the last four months, which includes the Gulf Coast Premier League, Eastern Premier Soccer League and the Midwest Premier League. In conjunction with the announcement, the MPL is re-launching its brand with a new logo and website.

“The Mountain Premier League was founded on the philosophy of an open system,” NISA executive vice president of expansion Josh Prutch said in a statement. “As we build our open system model, it is critical we have a coast-to-coast network of affiliations with like-minded amateur leagues. The MPL fits perfectly.”

The MPL is headquartered in the greater Denver area. Two teams – Colorado Springs FC and Peak XI FC – remain as the vested owners from the original five-team regional league that began in 2019. The league is currently in the expansion phase having received applications to fill out a 10-team first division. Three teams are set to join from Colorado, and another five teams spread throughout Utah and Idaho having begun the application process.

The five Colorado teams will play in the East division, while the five teams in Utah and Idaho will play in the West division. Each division will play an eight-game season to determine its champion. The champions will then play a home-and-away, aggregate-based final to determine who will represent the league in future tournaments, such as the NISA Independent Cup.

“Aligning with a forward-thinking league like NISA is crucial to our development, as well as the development of US soccer,” MPL board member and Peak XI owner Don Harmon said in a statement. “Soccer needs lower divisions with FIFA open system compliance. Partnering with NISA gives us a chance to play a role in making this happen. The MPL is looking to unify and work with the local leagues to expand the player pathway.”

The MPL has made progress with city leagues in Colorado to create an opportunity for promotion and relegation in the East division similar to the Eastern Premier Soccer League’s feeder league model.

“Colorado has an exceptional player pool of amateurs looking for opportunities,” said Chad Heath, Colorado Springs FC owner and MPL board member. “Organizationally MPL can provide a way for city, district, and state leagues to work together progressing players into a national spotlight without losing local support.”

As with the other recent affiliation agreements, NISA will allow MPL merit-based spots in the annual NISA Independent Cup tournament. MPL also will be an active participant on the NISA Alliance Board, which manages the interconnectedness of the growing number of affiliates.

“We applaud MPL’s plans for growth in the mountain west of America,” NISA commissioner John Prutch said in a statement. “We’re truly becoming an association of independent leagues and clubs with a shared vision. MPL understands why every league, every club deserves to have a voice in the future of soccer in this country.”