PASL wants united North American indoor soccer scene; willing to work with MISL

The Professional Arena Soccer League wants to work with the Major Indoor Soccer League.

While the United Soccer Leagues, which took over the administration of the MISL last week, has made it clear that it thinks that its league is by the best indoor league on the continent, the PASL hopes the two leagues can discuss interleague play and competing against each other in Cup tournaments.

“We have had constant dialogue with the MISL and we don’t see them as our competition or enemy,” said Sydney Nusinov, the PASL’s director of operations.

But the level of cooperation between the two leagues will be influenced by which sanctioning organization the MISL chooses. PASL belongs to Federacion International de Futbol Rapido (FIFRA).

“Our goal is to have them join FIFRA, play in our U.S. Open tournament and conduct interleague play, but if they join USSF (United States Soccer Federation), that might be more difficult,” said Nusinov.

But, according to USL president Tim Holt, MISL looks to be working on developing its own pyramid — with a top division and support from the I-League.

“At the present time, we are focused on managing the MISL at the level these teams deserve, as well as continuing to build our I-League as a supporting division to the MISL,” said Holt. “In doing so, we will seek capable indoor team owners and operators at various levels to participate in our efforts to establish an indoor soccer pyramid in the United States and Canada in the years to come.”  

As of this moment, there are no Canadian teams in MISL, even though USL president Tim Holt said there is interest from cities in our home and native land.

The PASL is affiliated with the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League, which features clubs in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. CMISL president Mel Kowalchuk is hopeful those numbers will grow. The champs of the CMISL, the Mexican indoor league and the PASL-Pro division gather every year to decide the overall league champs.

So, PASL has reach in three countries, MISL in one, with hopes to add a second.

The Omaha franchise defected from MISL to PASL before the announcement of the USL takeover. PASL uses a traditional scoring system, while the MISL employs a system where three-point, two-point and single-point values assigned to goals depending on how and where they are scored — think basketball scoring applied to soccer.

PASL also has the San Diego Sockers, one of the powerhouse franchises of indoor soccer on the continent, in its fold.

“We have a lot to work on but I think their (MISL) budgets have shrunk every year and our level of play has increased and we will be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years, but we are not quite there now,” said Nusinov. “The MISL only has three teams that have ever played a game so if they want to maintain that those three teams are the top level of indoor soccer they can have that distinction. But my focus is more on what we’re doing and how we can grow and improve.”

MISL has seven clubs on its roster for the 2011-2012 season, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Wichita, Norfolk, Syracuse and Rochester.

PASL, on top of snatching the Omaha Vipers from MISL, has expansion franchises set in Anaheim, Phoenix and Topeka, Kan.

Really, it’s been amazing how fractured the world of pro indoor soccer has been over the last two decades. Before the PASL, the old National Professional Soccer League, which had franchises in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal at various times in its existence, competed with the MISL, which had teams in the U.S. and Mexico.

For a sport that’s emerging and gets little or no mainstream media coverage, the pie has been sliced many times.

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, NASL.com and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.