Ottawa will join the NASL and begin play once their new stadium is finished, it was officially announced on Monday. Construction on the the 24,000-seat stadium is expected to start later this year, which likely means the team will begin play in the 2013 season. The team will be operated by John Pugh, who currently owns the PDL's Ottawa Fury.
"We welcome Ottawa to the NASL," NASL Commissioner David Downs said in a statement released by the league. "As we continue to expand and collectively grow professional soccer in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, Ottawa is a natural market with a vibrant business community, large soccer fan base and an exceptional ownership group."
How the NASL will look in 2013 is still an open question. The Montreal Impact will be replaced by the San Antonio Scorpions in 2012, meaning the league will be in compliance with the USSF's requirement that 75 percent of league's teams must be based in the United States in order to be sanctioned as Division 2. The addition of Ottawa, though, would throw that balance out of whack as three of nine teams (Ottawa, FC Edmonton and the Puerto Rico Islanders) would be based outside the country.
In order to meet the 75 percent requirement, two U.S.-based teams would have to join the league or one of those three teams would have to relocate. One possibly saving grace could be USL-Pro teams like Orlando City or the Rochester Rhinos joining the NASL's ranks. Both ownerships had considered NASL and would seem a more natural fit for Division 2. Their choice to join the USL-Pro seemed to be rooted in their belief that the NASL would be unable to get USSF sanctioning.