by DAVE MARTINEZ
The wait is almost over.
A U.S. Soccer spokesperson tells EoS that a final decision on divisional sanctioning for the second and third divisions could be announced by the “end of the week.”
U.S. Soccer missed their own deadline for an announced sanctioning decision last month. They first released a statement on December 6, saying a decision would be reached in 7-10 days. They then offered an update to the Indy Star saying talks would continue through the end of the year.
Both the North American Soccer League (NASL) and the United Soccer League (USL) have been vying for the divisional sanctioning for the better part of two months. USL is currently the division three standard bearer, but have been vocal and public about their desire to take on division two status, putting them one league level below their affiliate league, Major League Soccer (MLS).
The NASL, which seemed destined for collapse in the waning months of November, has found new life in recent weeks thanks to renewed investor interest and a strong pool of owners continuing to back the project. Several sources tell EoS that NASL will indeed hold on to their division 2 status, leaving the U.S. Soccer pyramid at a status quo.
It is worth noting that there is a provision within U.S. Soccer that would allow two D2 leagues to operate simultaneously. While possible, that scenario is highly unlikely. Neither NASL nor USL meet all the requirements for the D2 standard. However, USL are said to be further behind in meeting their obligations, requiring several waivers for such a scenario to take place. With the Federation against the idea of a two D2 leagues, the USL have a steep mountain to climb for such an ambitious effort.