The North American Soccer League may be on the verge of collapse, but it’s sticking with it’s M.O. to be different than Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League.
The NASL announced on Monday morning that it would be adopting the “international calendar,” with a league season running from August 11, 2018 through June 1, 2019, while at the same time stating that the upcoming NASL spring season was cancelled, due to ongoing litigation between the league and the U.S. Soccer Federation over U.S. Soccer Division 2 sanctioning.
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The NASL’s announcement is short on details, other than the start and close dates of the season, about whether (surely) there’d be a winter break and how the season would be formatted, with a fall and spring season again or not. While one can imagine soccer being played through the winter in California and Florida, it would be hard to imagine fans in New York or Indiana attending soccer matches outdoors between late November and March.
One long-time complaint from American soccer fans is that for the league to be truly competitive, it needs to adopt the international calendar, so that players in Europe won’t have to leave their clubs in the middle of the season or join an American club in the middle of its season. Brazil has similar issues, though most of South America operates like the NASL, with a opening and closed season and breaks in between both.
It appears that this is a big public relations statement. With the NASL teetering on collapse after the departures of North Carolina both San Francisco and FC Edmonton folding, the league is on its last legs. Even one of the league’s most ardent supporters, Indy Eleven, appears ready to move to MLS based on recent reports.
It remains to be seen whether the NASL will make it to August. With no spring season, many of the team’s players will start to look for new homes, as MLS and USL teams now get to pick from the best of a large pool of players available.