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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.

U.S. Open Cup wrap: “Cupsets” dot second round slate

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There were “Cupsets” in several locations during the early matches of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s second round on Wednesday.

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Two PDL teams, an NPSL side, and a league qualifier picked up wins over USL competition, with FC Wichita, Mississippi Brilla, Ocean City Nor’easters, and NTX Rayados recording wins.

Tulsa Roughnecks 3-4 FC Wichita

The USL hosts led 1-0 and 2-1 through Jhon Pirez and Riggs Lennon, but the pesky NPSL visitors refused to go away. Franck Yayou scored two goals and outscored its pro opponents 2-1 down the stretch in one of the night’s “Cupsets.”

FC Cincinnati 4-1 (aet) Detroit City FC

There was controversy before the game when FCC decided to play in a much smaller venue and limit away tickets to a few dozen, and Detroit used it as a rallying cry to the tune of an early lead through a counterattack befitting almost any league on Earth. Cincy answered big time, but needed extra time to put away the NPSL side.

FC Motown 1-3 Penn FC

Another scare from an NPSL side saw well-traveled MLS man Dilly Duka put the hosts ahead in the 53rd minute, but the visitors scored thrice in the final 11 minutes to move onto the third round.

Jacksonville Armada 1-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies

An old NASL rivalry saw Jimmy Banks’ 58th minute goal carry the Armada into the third round.

Elsewhere
North Carolina FC 3-0 Lansdowne Bhoys FC
Charlotte Independence 1-3 Ocean City Nor’easters
Erie Commodores 1-2 Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Reading United 1-1 (3-4, pks) Richmond Kickers
Seacoast United Phantoms 0-2 Elm City Express
Charleston Battery 1-0 South Georgia Tormenta FC
Louisville City FC 5-0 Long Island Rough Riders
Miami FC2 1-3 Miami United 
Mississippi Brilla 1-0 Indy Eleven
Midland-Odessa Sockers 0-4 San Antonio FC
Nashville SC
2-0 Inter Nashville FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks
3-2 FC Denver
NTX Rayados 5-2 (aet) Oklahoma City Energy
Duluth FC – Saint Louis FC
Sporting Arizona – Phoenix Rising
Fresno FC – Orange County FC
Las Vegas Lights – FC Tucson
Reno 1868 – Portland Timbers U23
Sacramento Republic – San Francisco City FC

Chicago Cubs owner becomes majority holder of new Chicago USL team

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USL’s addition of Chicago was announced last November, but the potential expansion side received major backing on Wednesday as the Windy City prepares to finalize its plans to enter the league.

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has joined the Chicago USL team as the club’s majority owner, after real-estate mogul and investor Sterling Bay announced the news on Wednesday.

Ricketts and his family have owned the Cubs since the 2009 season.

The current plans for the club are to construct a 20,000-seat stadium for the expansion side in the north side of Chicago, which would likely be within two miles of Wrigley Field — where the Cubs play.

Chicago is tentatively slated to join USL ahead of the 2020 season and is currently holding a contest for potential supporters to help name the team.

FC Cincinnati receives stadium approval if granted MLS bid

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The path to Major League Soccer looks to have gotten a whole lot clearer for FC Cincinnati on Monday.

[ MORE: Who has improved the most under Pep Guardiola at Man City? ]

The Cincinnati budget and finance committee voted to pass a stadium plan for the current USL side by a margin of four to three, in the event that FC Cincy is granted a place in MLS.

Meanwhile, the City Council voted five to four in favor of the plan.

The vote results in a $34.8 million infrastructure package that will go towards the development of a future stadium for FC Cincy, who is currently aiming to become the 26th franchise granted entry into the top flight of American soccer.

The stadium would be in Cincinnati’s West End, and would be a $200 million project, all of which is privately funded.

Last week, the club agreed to a land-swap deal with the Cincinnati Public Schools in order to secure the land necessary for their stadium project.

Cincinnati schools OK land swap with FC Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI (AP) Cincinnati Public Schools have agreed to a land swap with the city’s professional soccer team so the club can build a new $200 million stadium on the site where a high school stadium now sits.

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The school board approved the swap Tuesday. As part of the deal, FC Cincinnati agreed to build Taft High School a new $10 million stadium near the school’s current stadium in the city’s west end.

The deal is contingent on the minor league team getting an invitation to join Major League Soccer.

The school board initially rejected the offer because the team was seeking to make reduced property tax payments on the new stadium. The team later agreed to pay about $25 million over the life of the stadium.