The NPSL has announced that even after adding 15 teams to the league this year, there is at least one more round of expansions to be announced for next season. I mentioned Electric City FC (Scranton, PA) as a possible addition a couple of weeks ago and it seems that 2 more teams from Eastern PA could be in the cards as well – a reincarnated Hershey Impact who played in the NPSL back when it was an indoor league in the late 80′s and early 90′s (averaging just under 4,000 in attendance for the only season there are any records – thanks to Kenn’s attendance project for this information) and a Sr. Men’s team for the Reading Revolution Club.
If both Hershey and Scranton work out for this season I see the possibility of a major shake up in the Northeast Keystone and Atlantic conferences. As it stands right now (from last season) the Northeast looks like this:
Northeast Atlantic: Northeast Keystone:
- New York Red Bulls – AC Crusaders
- Rhode Island Reds – Junior Lone Star FC
- Seacost United Phantoms – Buxmont Torch
- Seacost United Mariners – Morris County Colonials
- Mass United FC - FC Sonic
- Brooklyn Italians - Pocono Snow
- New York Athletic Club – Jersey City Eagles FC
For me, it would be ideal if a New England Conference were created for the four New England Teams (Mass, Seacoast, Seacoast, Rhode Island). The Atlantic Conference would then be split into two divisions, North for the teams based around NYC (NY Red Bulls, Brooklyn, NYAC, Jersey City) and South for teams in Philadelphia and Central/South Jersey (AC, Lone Star, Morris County, Buxmont). Then, the Keystone Conference would take FC Sonic, Pocono Snow, Reading, Greater Binghamton FC, and the three new Scranton, Hershey, and Reading teams.
This realignment would make turn the NPSL in the Northeast to a truly regional model, emphasizing close geographically based rivalries and saving the teams a lot of money on travel costs. A basic home and away series could be set up within each division (8-10 matches), with inter-conference play to round out the schedule (another 2-4 matches). As it stands right now, the Keystone and Atlantic conferences are pretty full so this kind of conference realignment would optimize the region for the addition of future teams.
EDIT: As of now, I have confirmed the Reading Revolution and Hershey Wildcats (not Impact as speculated above) will be joining the Keystone conference along with 2nd year club Greater Binghamton FC. It seems likely that a big conference shuffle will occur next season as additional teams are added throughout the NE region.