Peter Wilt

@NISAOfficial

NISA seeks new leadership as Wilt leaves to start USL D3 club

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Peter Wilt is leaving his gig as founding hero of upstart pro/rel league NISA to bring a USL D3 side to Wisconsin.

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Big Top Events announced the hiring of Wilt on Thursday, and the executive is leading a drive to name the club for Madison Pro Soccer.

NISA, the North American Soccer League who widely advocated promotion and relegation but has hit some bumps along the way, now seeks a new leader. The organization announced a committee of club owners will lead a search.

“I wish the NISA teams and new leadership well,” Wilt said. “I am proud of the strong vision we developed and now others will need to carry it forward. I am hopeful that my stepping away will allow the disparate open system groups to unify around a shared vision.”

Wilt, who has launched five professional soccer teams in the closed system is returning to his roots the United Soccer Leagues. He will lead Madison Pro Soccer as Managing Director of Big Top Events’ soccer division. Previously, Wilt served as President, General Manager and part owner of the USISL (now USL) Minnesota Thunder. He has also launched USL’s Indy Eleven, NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars and MLS’ Chicago Fire.

NISA announced eight markets in August but has yet to announce a start date. It’s an intriguing idea, but — for better or worse — could undertake some monumental changes without Wilt in the driver’s seat.

As for Madison, Wilt knows what he’s doing when it comes to starting a club, so this is a solid get for the city.

Hopeful third-tier league NISA announces first 8 markets

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The National Independent Soccer Association has announced the first eight markets involved in its chase for Division III soccer sanctioning from U.S. Soccer.

Charlotte, Chattanooga, Connecticut, Miami, Milwaukee, Omaha, Phoenix, and St. Louis will be the markets applying to open play in Spring 2018. The league says it has 15 letters of intent, with the other seven markets opting to wait until the 2019 season to begin play.

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The league’s use of the word “applicants” is very loose, as its experienced organizers would not let the possibility of “no” get mixed into an initial release.

NISA will be owned by the teams and run by organizers Peter Wilt and Jack Cummings, and the teams will need to pay six-figure expansion fees to fund the league.

Wilt and Cummins are behind an NASL bid for Chicago, and Wilt helped build MLS side Chicago Fire and is on the club’s Ring of Fire. Cummins is an executive who ran the Chicago Red Stars women’s team, and both men work for a sports advisory firm called Club 9 Sports.

At least one of the aforementioned markets is a known entity from other leagues, NPSL side Miami United, and Chattanooga FC may have a team in the league though there are conflicting reports (A supporters account says yes, the club’s co-founder says there will be an NPSL side no matter what).

Wilt pitched Division II NASL and perceived Division IV NPSL on helping to organize NISA, in the hopes that NISA would eventually become a middle cog in three-tier promotion/relegation.

St. Louis, Phoenix, and Charlotte have USL sides, and Miami has a team in the NASL.

Sean Flynn, the CEO of Miami FC in the NASL, has been an outspoken proponent of pro/rel and is supportive of the idea even with a team in his market.

New team, soccer facility set for Indianapolis

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Just 10 or 15 years ago, professional soccer teams struggled to find adequate places to play.

That was back in the day when most Major League Soccer teams played as renters inside … well, inside whatever ground they could find, often NFL stadiums that fit about as well as a Hollywood fat suit on a supermodel.

In the next tiers down the domestic pro soccer ladder, clubs were playing in high school stadiums, which were seldom large enough to accommodate a properly sized field.

Fast forward to today … and now we can’t crank up the internet without seeing the latest accounts of a spanking new soccer ground going up, swell facilities worthy of professional soccer. How sweet is that!

Yesterday, of course, brought news of Big Apple dreams: Richard Farley told you about the Cosmos’ ambitious plans.

Today, as the college and professional soccer world converge on Indianapolis, soccer leaders in the city took the opportunity to announce that the NASL (the second tier of U.S. pro soccer) had approved a new club to begin play in Indiana’s largest city in 2014.

The club will play at the IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium, which is about to undergo significant changes.  An artist rendering of the facility’s new look is seen in the photo above.