Category: NPSL (National Premier Soccer League)

NPSL Expansion: Flower Mound FC

FLOWER_MOUND_FC_LOGO_1The NPSL has announced that Flower Mound FC will be joining the league for play in the 2014 season. Flower Mound FC is owned and operated by KLA Sports and Media Group and will be located in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.

Flower Mound will join the South Central Conference alongside the Tulsa Athletics, Liverpool Warriors, Houston Hurricanes and Houston Regals SCA.

The addition of another club to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area creates a good local rivalry with the Liverpool Warriors and helps to fill out a South Central Conference that saw the Athletics dominate throughout the season.

NPSL Expansion: SO Samba FC

SO Samba FCThe NPSL may soon see its first Pacific Northwest member as SO Samba FC of Hood River, OR announces intentions to join the league for the 2014 season. Coached by former Corinthian member Thiago Samba, the club will looks to establish a ‘Brazilian’ identity by bringing in players from Brazil. The club hopes to establish itself as a player ‘incubator’ and is working with a local community college to help provide education opportunities for its players.

The club has hosted initial tryouts and has begun recruiting players with the goal of holding a series of friendly matches prior to joining the NPSL next season.

As the only club NPSL club in the Pacific Northwest, Samba FC would be forced to join the existing Golden Gate division of the West Region, a prospect which would mean a lot of travel for the first year club. The Sacramento Gold are almost a 10 hour drive from Hood River, and the other Bay Area and San Jose clubs are even further.

Commissioner Michael Hitchcock has expressed interest in expanding into the Pacific Northwest, but has indicated that such expansions could be contingent on finding enough clubs to make up a new conference due to travel concerns. What that means for SO Samba FC’s 2014 aspirations, only time will tell.

NPSL Adds Cincinnati Saints

The Cincinnati Saints were announced as the newest NPSL club as of 10AM this morning. It has been known for some time that the Saints were looking to field an NPSL team, trying to fill the market void left by the now defunct Kings. The most recent indication that the club was moving closer to their goal came from (albeit vague) comments concerning meetings with a potential expansion made by NPSL Commissioner Michael Hitchcock while making a stop in the midwest to take in the Great Lakes divisional playoffs. The move was all but confirmed in recent weeks as both the Saints organization and NPSL made statements regarding a ‘major announcement’ and ‘expansion news’ respectively.

Cincinnati will join fellow Ohio clubs Zanesville Athletic and AFC Cleveland in the Great Lakes division.

You can watch the full release here.

Undefeated RVA Win NPSL Championship

First year club RVA FC of Richmond, VA has been crowned the 2013 NPSL Champions with a 2-0 victory over the Sonoma County Sol in front of almost 1,500 at Sports Backers Stadium.

Heading into the championship both teams had been undefeated. The Sol were looking to add a second star while RVA were gunning for their first. The match featured entertaining end-to-end action, and the result was in contention until the final minutes.

RVA’s Josh Grant put the home team ahead in the 18th minute with a 30 yard strike and Manel Bell added an insurance goal in the 88th to prevent any last minute heroics from the Sol. The Sol saw what would have been the equalizer clank off the post in the 67th minute, and despite several quality chances would get no closer.

Final Score: RVA 2 Sonoma County 0


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.


OC Forfeits and Playoff Implications

With the Orange County Pateadores announcement that they would be forced to forfeit the last three matches of the season, we explore the impact this has on playoff qualifications for the West Region’s Southern Flight.

The clear winner is FC Hasental who will get a free three points - enough to almost assuredly hand them first place in the Southern Division. Orange County had kept Hasental from receiving full points in both previous matchups this season, which both ended in draws. If Orange County had managed another draw or dealt Hasental a defeat, this would have greatly aided their own title hopes as well as Santa Clarita’s.

Incidentally, Santa Clarita also pick three points from Orange County - whom they lost to twice earlier in the season. Santa Clarita currently trails Hasental by 4 points, and even though the three points are a boost, the fact that Hasental will get three free voids this contribution to Santa Clarita and in fact makes it impossible for the second place Storm to move into first place - even they manage to knock off Hasental and the San Diego Flash in their remaining two contests.

The real loser is the San Diego Flash who unlike Hasental and Santa Clarita defeated Orange County twice out of three meetings. Because of the free points being awarded to first place Hasental and second place Santa Clarita, the Flash now have no hope of taking over the title, even should they win each of their last two matches. Further, heading into last weekend the San Diego and Santa Clarita were tied on points, with the tie-breaker going to San Diego on goal differential. Santa Clarita leaped clear of the Flash with the forfeit victory while San Diego only managed a draw with last place San Diego Boca. The Flash will likely pick up three points this weekend against Las  Vegas, but could find themselves still on the outside of a playoff spot if Santa Clarita defeats Hasental this weekend. This would take the playoff race down to the season finale in which the Flash will host the Storm in San Diego. Should that be the case, Santa Clarita could advance with win or draw while San Diego could only advance with a win.

Essentially, the Orange County forfeits have big playoff implications. Hasental suddenly finds that they have clinched the division (and a playoff spot) while the the Flash find themselves in a situation where they almost have to win each of their remaining matches. Santa Clarita will be disappointed that they don’t have a shot at the title, but have less pressure than San Diego to win both of their remaining matches and still claim the last playoff spot.

And while San Diego Boca will also pick up a forfeit victory, the extra points really only mean that Boca might be able to finish second to last instead of last.

Weekend in Review 6/23/13

With a weekend of matches full of playoff implications, here is your weekend in review for 6/23/13.

Northeast Region:

The New York Red Bulls and Brooklyn Italians played to a scoreless draw that leaves the Red Bulls with a commanding lead atop the Atlantic Flight’s table. The Red Bulls defense have yet to allow a goal all season. Meanwhile, New York Athletic Club put a 12-2 drubbing on the Seacoast United Mariners as they look to overtake the Italians for 2nd place and the last playoff slot in the Flight. NYRB have 16 points through 6 games, Brooklyn is at 11, and NYAC holds 7 points and carries a game in hand. The rest of the flight is sitting on 4 points or less.

In Keystone Flight action Greater Binghamton allows its first home goal of the season, but an own goal thanks to the Pocono Snow is enough to secure the Binghamton win 2-1 at home and keep them on top of the table. Clarkstown Eagles SC soundly defeated Hershey FC 6-0 but failed to move into second place due to a Junior Lone Star 4-1 win over the Reading Revolution that moves the Stars (16 points) to within 1 point of Binghamton (17 points - though Lone Star have played one more match than the rest of their flight) and a LVU Sonic 6-2 thrashing of the Morris County Colonials which puts Sonic in third place with 15 points.

South Region:

RVA Football club defeated Chesterfield United to all but secure first place in the Mid-Atlantic flight while Myrtle Beach thrashed last place CASL Elite 5-1 to stay in 2nd place and move within one point of RVA (though RVA holds two games in hand).

New Orleans Jesters knocked off Rocket City United 2-1 and Knoxville Force 3-1 with two quality victories that really only serve to secure a respectable mid-table finish to the South East Flight season. Chattanooga FC played to a scoreless draw with the Gulf Coast Texans and with the draw is able to maintain first place by a point. The winner of the Flight will secure the lone flight playoff spot. Chattanooga leads with 17 points, Gulf Coast trails with 16 points, and Rocket City is still in contention with 13 points.

Jacksonville United all but inked their status on top of the Sunshine Flight with a dominating 4-0 win over Miami United. Tampa Bay also won on the weekend with a narrow 1-0 victory over the struggling Cape Coral Hurricanes. Jacksonville leads with 14 points while Tampa Bay remains in contention with 8 points and 2 games in hand.

The Tulsa Athletics played out a tense 2-2 draw with the visiting Liverpool Warriors and continue to sit at the top of the South Central table. Also in South Central play the Houston Regals notched their first win of the season convincingly defeating cross town rivals Houston Hurricanes. The victory comes just days after Regals head coached announced he was replacing most of the first team with members of the reserve team in a bid to improve the performance of the team. The move comes too little too late to make a difference for postseason aspirations, but adding a couple wins will be a great way to start building for next season.

Midwest Region:

Around the Great Lakes Flight, FC Buffalo came away with split results in a trip to the greater Detroit metro winning 4-0 Friday at FC Sparta Michigan and then losing by the same scoreline to NPSL #1 ranked club Detroit City. Erie faced Zanesville and Cleveland over the weekend, winning 3-1 over the Athletics and drawing 1-1 with the Royals. Cleveland’s woes continued with a 3-0 loss earlier in the weekend at the hands of rivals Detroit City.

In the Central Flight, the Minnesota Twin Stars woes continued as the dropped consecutive 5-2 decisions to the Milwaukee Bavarians and Madison 56er’s. Fellow cellar dwellers Eau Claire Aris fared slightly better picking up a point against the 56er’s first first time ever (final score was 1-1) before losing 2-1 to the Bavarians. Quad City continues to head the flight, but Madison and Milwaukee are still in the playoff hunt if the can turn in some late season results.

West Region:

San Francisco extended their winless streak another match with a 0-2 loss to fellow Golden Gate Flight club Aguiluchos USA. Sonoma County solidified their place on top of the flight with a heavily contested 2-1 victory over Real San Jose.

The already exciting playoff race added another twist with the announcement that Orange County Pateadores would be forfeiting their remaining matches due to lack of a home venue. This week, the announcement benefited Santa Clarita who picked up the 3-0 default victory to leapfrog the San Diego Flash into second place. The Flash were disappointed with a 2-2 draw in a local derby against San Diego Boca. Las Vegas gave Hasental a first half scare only to see the Ventura County side storm back for a 5-1 victory.

OC Pateadores Forced to Forfeit Remaining Matches

In an unfortunate turn of circumstances Orange County Pateadores will be forced to forfeit their last three games of the season, and with them any hope of a playoff spot. The forfeits are being forced due to lack of a home field venue - a minimum club requirement according to NPSL standards.

At the start of the 2013 season Orange County partnered with existing youth club Pateadores in a move that was supposed to provide the NPSL side with both logistical support and an increased player pool; and based on early season results it looked to be a good move. As the season went on however, securing playing grounds became an issue and forced a forfeit to Las Vegas which was the first Orange County loss of the season. Orange County General Manager Albert Ochoa commented, “We had a fantastic start in the pitch, but since the beginning ran into the field issues, having fields that limited the ability to charge for the home games, and run a solid game-day operation. This condition took a terrible toll in our ability to generate revenue from ticket sales, and what was equally bad, was the fact that we lost our first game by default due to the lack of a home field.”

Ochoa went on to explain, “After several weeks, the issue was not resolved leaving us with last minute adjustments every week and no guarantee that we would be able to obtain a field to meet minimum league requirements.  Thus we have opted to forfeit the last games of the season. I have contacted the League Administration and discussed the situation, including playing the remaining games as visitors. After reviewing all our options, we reached a decision to forfeit the games, start working in the re branding of the team, work independently in getting an official field and prepare for the 2014 season. This course of action should not affect the other teams in the division. That was something that was taken very seriously by all, out of respect for the league and the other competing teams.”

Snow End Binghamton Home Shutout Streak

The Pocono Snow became the first team to score on Greater Binghamton FC at home in the 2013 season, but the lone goal wasn’t enough to secure points. Thanks to another strong defensive performance and a bit of luck from a Pocono own goal, Binghamton secured the victory and three points to stay atop the Keystone Flight table. Binghamton will face Hershey FC next Saturday. Hershey is the only team to to beat Binghamton this season, and they are coming off a stunning 6-0 loss to the Clarkstown SC Eagles in a match that saw two Hershey players dismissed with red cards.

NPSL Media Top 20

Starting this week a panel comprised of media members from across the country vote on the NPSL Top 20. Here are the rankings as of 6/22.

1. Detroit City FC
2. Tulsa Athletics
3. Quad City Eagles
4. Sonoma County Sol
5. New York Red Bulls
6. FC Hasental
7. Chattanooga FC
8. FC Buffalo
9. RVA Football Club
10. Sacramento Gold
11. Jacksonville United FC
12. Gulf Coast Texans
13. Greater Binghamton Futbol Club
14. San Diego Flash
15. Rocket City United
16. Hershey FC
17. Futbol Club Santa Clarita
18. Brooklyn Italians
19. Milwaukee Bavarians
20. Liverpool Warriors