As The NASL Turns: San Antonio Expansion Announced, No Word On Austin

The re-re-launched NASL has picked up another member.

The league announced today that San Antonio will become its next team, with play slated to begin for the 2012 season. Of course, whether that league will be officially sanctioned by the USSF as Division 2 remains to be seen. There are still questions about whether certain teams (most notably Puerto Rico) will be granted waivers and whether others (most notably Rochester) will jump to USL Pro.

In the meantime, this move brings up to interesting questions: Whether this is San Antonio's first step toward trying to acquire a MLS franchise; and what this means for the Austin Aztex.

San Antonio has long been rumored to be on MLS's expansion radar. With two teams already in Texas, and one drawing embarrassingly small crowds, it seems to be a tough sell to put a third franchise in the state.

The other possibility, of course, would involve moving said poorly attended franchise to a new stadium in San Antonio where a supporters group is already waiting for a team to call its own. The big problem here is the PR disaster MLS would face if it was forced to move a team that was just given a partially taxpayer funded Soccer Specific Stadium (that, btw, actually draws better crowds for high school football).

The Aztex situation is similarly hard to nail down. They are the top team is USSFD2 this season and having reasonable success at the gate, so it's hard to see them just dropping into D3. At the same, they are already selling season tickets for next year, so they are obviously on playing somewhere.

There seems to be some speculation that they'll just become the San Antonio team in 2012, which I suppose seems plausible, but I have yet to see anyone make an official announcement as such.

In any case, it should be interesting to see how this thing plays out during the offseason. 

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