The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States. It began play in 2019 and is currently in the third tier of American soccer. The league initially used a fall-to-spring season format with a winter break but has since switched to a spring-to-fall format, which is more common in the United States.
NISA has nine clubs for the 2023 season, including Club de Lyon FC, Savannah Clovers FC, and Gold Star FC Detroit. The league has a COVID-19 Task Force that works with medical experts, the US Soccer Federation, and other professional soccer leagues to ensure the safety of players, staff, and fans. NISA also participates in the US Open Cup, with recent matches including Flower City Union vs. Manhattan Soccer Club and San Antonio FC vs. Savannah Clovers FC.
If you’re a fan of soccer, NISA offers an exciting and competitive league to follow. With a growing number of clubs and a commitment to safety and professionalism, NISA is quickly establishing itself as a major player in American soccer. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual observer, this guide to NISA will provide you with everything you need to know about this exciting league.
History of NISA
Founding of NISA
The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) was founded in 2017 by a group of soccer enthusiasts, including John Prutch, who saw the need for a professional soccer league that could provide a platform for independent teams across the United States. The idea was to create a league that could offer a more affordable and accessible option for teams that were not part of the established soccer pyramid in the country.
NISA’s inaugural season began in 2019, with seven teams competing in a fall-to-spring season format with a winter break. The teams included Atlanta SC, California United Strikers FC, Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, Miami FC, New York Cosmos, and Oakland Roots SC. The league’s first-ever game was played between Oakland Roots SC and California United Strikers FC, with Oakland Roots SC winning 2-0.
The first season saw Detroit City FC emerge as the champions, beating Oakland Roots SC 2-1 in the final. The league received a positive response from fans and players alike, with many praising the league’s commitment to promoting independent soccer.
NISA Independent Cup
In 2020, NISA introduced the NISA Independent Cup, a regional tournament that featured independent teams from across the country. The tournament was designed to provide a platform for teams to compete and showcase their talent, even in the absence of a full league season.
The tournament was a success, with teams from nine regions competing for the championship. Detroit City FC emerged as the winners, beating Chattanooga FC 2-1 in the final. The tournament provided a glimpse into the potential of independent soccer in the country, and the enthusiasm it generated among fans and players was a testament to the growing popularity of the sport.
Overall, NISA has made significant strides in promoting independent soccer in the United States. The league’s commitment to providing a platform for teams outside the established soccer pyramid has been commendable, and its efforts have been well-received by fans and players alike. With the league expanding and new teams joining every year, the future looks bright for independent soccer in the country.
The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States. The league is in the third tier of American soccer and began play in 2019. NISA currently has several clubs, including Detroit City FC, Oakland Roots, New York Cosmos, Chattanooga FC, and Cal United Strikers.
Detroit City FC
Detroit City FC is a professional soccer club based in Detroit, Michigan. The club was founded in 2012 and has quickly become one of the most successful clubs in the NISA. Detroit City FC has a strong fan base and regularly draws large crowds to their home games.
Oakland Roots is a professional soccer club based in Oakland, California. The club was founded in 2018 and joined the NISA in 2019. Oakland Roots has quickly become a fan favorite due to their unique branding and community involvement.
New York Cosmos
The New York Cosmos are a professional soccer club based in New York City. The club was founded in 1970 and has a rich history in American soccer. The New York Cosmos joined the NISA in 2020 and have quickly become one of the most successful clubs in the league.
Chattanooga FC is a professional soccer club based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The club was founded in 2009 and has a strong fan base. Chattanooga FC has been successful both on and off the field, regularly drawing large crowds to their home games.
Cal United Strikers
Cal United Strikers is a professional soccer club based in Irvine, California. The club was founded in 2017 and joined the NISA in 2019. Cal United Strikers has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the league, regularly finishing near the top of the table.
Other notable clubs in the NISA include the Michigan Stars, Maryland Bobcats FC, Savannah Clovers FC, Gold Star FC Detroit, Los Angeles Force, Manhattan Soccer Club, Ocean City Nor’easters, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, Loudoun United FC, Birmingham Legion FC, and Albion San Diego. Each club brings its own unique history and fan base to the league, making for an exciting and diverse soccer experience.
NISA operates on a traditional soccer season format, with a Spring Season and a Fall Season. Each season consists of a regular season followed by playoffs to determine the champion. The Spring Season typically runs from March to June, while the Fall Season runs from August to November.
The Spring Season is the first half of the NISA season and typically consists of 12-16 games per team. The Spring Season champion is determined by the team with the most points at the end of the regular season. The Spring Season champion qualifies for the NISA Championship, which is the playoff tournament to determine the overall champion of NISA.
The Fall Season is the second half of the NISA season and typically consists of 12-16 games per team. Similar to the Spring Season, the Fall Season champion is determined by the team with the most points at the end of the regular season. The Fall Season champion also qualifies for the NISA Championship.
U.S. Open Cup
NISA teams are eligible to compete in the U.S. Open Cup, which is the oldest ongoing soccer competition in the United States. The tournament is open to all amateur and professional soccer teams in the country, and NISA teams have the opportunity to compete against teams from higher divisions, such as Major League Soccer (MLS).
The NISA Championship is the playoff tournament that determines the overall champion of NISA. The top two teams from the Spring Season and the top two teams from the Fall Season qualify for the Championship. The Championship consists of two semifinal matches and a final match to determine the champion. The winner of the Championship also qualifies for the U.S. Open Cup.
The current NISA Commissioner is John Prutch. He was appointed to the position in 2021 and has been instrumental in leading the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under his leadership, NISA has implemented strict safety protocols to protect the health of players, staff, and fans. These protocols have been developed in consultation with medical experts and in compliance with guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, NISA has continued to grow and expand. In 2023, the league added three new clubs: Club de Lyon FC, Savannah Clovers FC, and Gold Star FC Detroit. This brings the total number of clubs in the league to nine.
Commissioner Prutch has also been a strong advocate for player development and has worked to create pathways for young players to enter the professional ranks. In 2022, NISA launched the NISA Academy, a program designed to provide young players with the training and support they need to succeed at the professional level.
In addition to his work with NISA, Commissioner Prutch has a long history in the soccer world. He has served as a coach and administrator at both the college and professional levels, and has been recognized for his contributions to the sport.
Overall, Commissioner Prutch has been a steady and effective leader for NISA during a challenging time. His commitment to safety and player development has helped to position the league for continued success in the years ahead.
The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) offers an exciting and competitive option for soccer fans in the United States. As a professional men’s soccer league, NISA provides an opportunity for players to showcase their skills while competing at a high level. With a spring-to-fall season format, NISA aligns with the standard schedule for American soccer leagues.
NISA has experienced rapid growth since its inception in 2019, and the league shows no signs of slowing down. As of 2023, the league boasts 16 teams from across the country, including Flower City Union, Manhattan Soccer Club, and San Antonio FC. NISA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been a driving force behind the league’s success, as it strives to create a welcoming environment for all athletes, clubs, staff, and fans.
While NISA is still considered a third-tier league in American soccer, it has the potential to become a major player in the world of soccer. As the league continues to expand and collaborate with other leagues, it will be interesting to see how NISA evolves in the coming years. For soccer fans looking for an alternative to the more established leagues, NISA is definitely worth checking out.