The reborn North American Soccer League (NASL) is only now getting ready for its second year of operation, but it already has plans to get much bigger. In a statement released Tuesday announcing that NASL Commissioner David Downs would remain in that role, the Division 2 league also said it is in "active discussions with prospective owners from 20 different markets." The league currently has eight teams, with Ottawa scheduled to become the ninth in 2013.
"This is an exciting time in the sport and a particularly exciting time to be in the NASL," Downs said in the release. "We are eager to expand the opportunities for professional players throughout North America and the Caribbean to play at a high level while offering fans all over the region the chance to see pro soccer in their home markets in an intimate and affordable setting."
As it stands now, the league will likely need to add at least one United States-based team in 2013 to avoid the need for another waiver. USSF Division 2 rules dictate that 75 percent of the teams need to be based in the United States. While the NASL meets those standards this year with the addition of San Antonio, bringing Ottawa into the mix would mean three of the league's nine teams are based outside the U.S. This year, the Puerto Rico Islanders and FC Edmonton are the only two foreign clubs.
Among the cities that are reportedly being considered for expansion are San Diego, Detroit, Indianapolis and Nashville. There is also the possibility that one or more teams could be lured to NASL from the USL Pro.