NPSL To Explore Promotion/Relegation

In a Q&A released on the National Premier Soccer League’s website today, Commissioner Michael Hitchcock announces that he and the board of directors will be spending time in the offseason exploring the possibility of introducing promotion and relegation into the NPSL. Acknowledging that “fans would love to see a system of promotion & relegation in the U.S…. it would be great if the NPSL could be the league to bring promotion/relegation to the U.S.” Hitchcock states that he, “has a number of ideas” and that “we’re going to do a lot of work on this to see what makes sense and when.” While these comments indicate that the idea is in the exploratory stages, Hitchcock does mention that he will be presenting some ideas on the subject to the Board of Directors at the annual retreat in August.

Interestingly, I mentioned this very idea in a previous story I wrote exploring the idea of expanding the NPSL league structure to accommodate reserve teams and/or a second division. It should be noted that if the NPSL were to introduce promotion/relegation, it is likely to only extend to any division introduced under the NPSL ‘umbrella’. And while it is possible that the NPSL could set up an agreement with another league (several have suggested the NASL as an option) this seems highly unlikely due to the financial and economic concerns current higher league franchise owners would face if sent down.

Promotion/relegation could be a great introduction into the NPSL and is a change that is sure to draw significant support from fans of the game. As I stated previously, and intentionally avoiding specifics, the NPSL needs to “continue to find innovative ways to professionalize their product and set themselves apart.” The introduction of promotion/relegation does just that.


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  3. Owen Thronhill

    Conferences with more than 7 teams could split into Keystone Premier and Keystone 1st division. 4 in the top league and 5 in the 1st. Thats all that could be done until there are more clubs

  4. Ian

    Promotion and relegation is a good goal over the long run, but NPSL doesn’t have enough teams to do it now. The only way for this to be feasible is to work with local amateur leagues on a one-on-one basis. Not every league will want to have pro / rel to NPSL and not every team will want to deal with the extra travel time and expense, but some will. However, very few amateur games are well attended and I doubt that would change whether the team was in their local league or NPSL. Also, NPSL only has a three month season and most leagues around here play from April through October, so that’s also an issue.

    • jordinc

      Pretty much preaching to the choir here - but I agree, as it stands now it won’t work. I also agree with the localized league idea. In the meantime, I’m just happy these conversations are being has and that a guy like Hitchcock is giving serious thought to it!

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