A little more than a year after the reborn NASL's future was cast into doubt before a match had even been played, the league received full Division 2 sanctioning from the USSF. The decision should help stabilize the eight-team league as the clear second tier of North American soccer and potentially clears a path for future expansion.
"We’ve worked tirelessly over the past several years to create a new, sustainable long-term platform for Division 2 professional soccer in North America and the Caribbean. We thank the Federation for their leadership and cooperation in helping us elevate second division standards in order to make our vision a reality," Aaron Davidson, Chairman of the NASL Board of Governors, said in a league release.
The NASL will kick off its second season on April 7 with eight teams, six of which will be based in the United States. The San Antonio Scorpions are the league's newest team and will begin play this year. The USSF's requirement to have 75 percent of the any Division 2's teams based here was one of the early stumbling blocks. The next city in line for NASL expansion is Ottawa, which could throw off that balance. Ottawa is expected to join the league in 2013 or 2014, but by that time the NASL could be ready to add more U.S.-based teams, as commissioner David Downs recently suggested ownership groups from as many as 20 cities are currently in advanced talks with the league.