Formally announced two weeks ago, the new men’s second division professional soccer league slated to begin play next spring has announced its name, and it is a familiar one to soccer fans and players in the United States and Canada – the North American Soccer League (NASL).
NASL was the name of the men’s outdoor professional league that operated in the United States and Canada from 1968 to 1984, which played its final match 25 years ago last month and generated historic moments and memories for players and fans alike throughout its 16-year run. Legends such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Johan Cruyff and Karl Heinz-Granitza played in the NASL, which served as the birthplace for numerous men’s professional outdoor franchises still in action today.
“By becoming the NASL, we are paying respect to the players, coaches and leaders who were pioneers for men’s professional soccer in North America, many of whom remain involved and committed to the growth of our game in various capacities throughout the U.S. and Canada,” said Selby Wellman, principal owner of the Carolina RailHawks and newly appointed president of NASL, LLC. “For that, we honor and thank them with a new era for the NASL.
“Further, by going with NASL, we’re obligated to operate our league at a high standard befitting a name that means so much to the soccer community throughout North America. Our intention is to offer an elite brand of soccer and outstanding experience for our partners and fans, something the old NASL did very well during its day. We will do the same in the new NASL.”
Currently comprised of nine teams – the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis Soccer United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps FC – the league has submitted an application to the United States Soccer Federation for sanctioning as a Division II Men’s Outdoor Professional League.
NASL is also active in its search for a full-time commissioner and will introduce an extensive marketing campaign in the coming months.