US Soccer keeps NASL alive for now, here’s what it means and what you should know – CBS sports.com (blog)

On Friday night, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors voted to grant provisional Division II status to the NASL and USL for the 2017 season following concern that the NASL could fold after money concerns and team bolting.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Background

The NASL, the second-tier league behind MLS, appeared to be on the brink of folding when in early December U.S. Soccer postponed a decision on reclassifying divisions. It looked like as a result NASL would go from second-tier to third-tier or maybe fold. Moving down, combined with folding teams, meant simply that the league could possibly end up in a state where it couldn’t operate or meet standards of a second-tier league, jeopordizing its future.

What was the problem?

Money issues for the league and many clubs put the future in serious doubt. Minnesota United joined MLS, while teams like the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury announced moves to USL, which moved from third-tier to second-tier on Friday. The New York Cosmos look to be on the verge of folding and other clubs are dealing with other serious issues.

What does this decision mean?

U.S. Soccer said neither USL or NASL meet all the standards of being a second-tier league but granted the provisional status to both and “will work with the leagues on a pathway to full compliance.”

“After an exhaustive process working with both leagues, in the best interest of the sport the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors has decided to grant provisional Division II status to the NASL and USL,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “U.S. Soccer will create an internal working group that will work with each league to set a pathway to meet the full requirements for Division II and allow for the larger goal of creating a sustainable future. We look forward to another productive year for professional soccer in this country.”

Where does this leave both leagues?

This leaves the leagues in a fantastic, unforeseen spot. Considering neither met all the standards of DII, it’s big to see U.S. Soccer back both and implement plans to get both to where they need to be, putting the future of the sport first. U.S. Soccer said it will determine additional requirements for both leagues and a timeline for completion in the coming weeks. While December was a lifeline for the NASL, this news feels like another chance at life.

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