U.S. Soccer postpones decision on sanctioning with NASL’s future in doubt
U.S. Soccer has not made a decision on the future of the United States' Division 2 and Division 3 leagues. Instead, they have decided to push the decision back at least a week as they decide how to proceed with NASL, the current Division 2, possibly set to fold.
“After continuing discussions with NASL and USL, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors postponed the decision on sanctioning/re-certification of leagues for Division 2 and Division 3,” U.S. Soccer said in a statement. “We expect to have further discussions in the next 7-10 days as we focus on the resolution of this important matter.”
NASL is the country's second division right now, but Minnesota United are set to join MLS, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury will join USL, which is the current third division, and North Carolina FC (formerly the Carolina Railhawks) could jump leagues as well. Meanwhile, several of NASL's remaining teams — New York Cosmos, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Rayo OKC — are reportedly on the verge of folding.
All of this has NASL on the verge of going under. They simply don't have enough teams to continue operating right now, let alone meet the standards of the country's second division.
USL was reportedly going to seek to be made the second division regardless of what happened with NASL. The league will field at least 30 teams next season and has the benefit of being an MLS partner.
U.S. Soccer sets the rules and regulations for the various divisions, then sanctions them. They had previously made NASL the second division and USL the third division. The plan was to have sorted out this situation by Tuesday, with either NASL remaining the second division and USL the third division, or bumping USL up to the second division. Instead, they appear to be set on giving NASL every opportunity to save the league and keep it afloat. That looks like a longshot right now, with NASL folding and USL becoming the second division most likely, but U.S. Soccer isn't going to rule yet. They're pushing things back at least a week and seeing if they can keep both leagues alive, functioning and stable in their respective divisions.