Home Global Game CONCACAF NASL commissioner to meet with CSA execs: To discuss how NASL “can be a better partner” to Canada

NASL commissioner to meet with CSA execs: To discuss how NASL “can be a better partner” to Canada


NASL commissioner Bill Peterson will be in the nation’s capital on April 19, when the Ottawa Fury plays its first regular-season match on the Carleton University turf against Minnesota United.

As part of the trip to Ottawa, Peterson will meet with the Canadian Soccer Association officials. His stated goal? To find ways that NASL “can be a better partner” to the CSA. He said that, now that he’s settled in as the league commissioner, he wants to create a closer working relationship with the CSA.

Peterson said the league “will explore options on how we can better align ourselves with the CSA’s professional goals.”

What that means is unclear. The Canadian Soccer Association has a mandate to create a series of regional Division-3 leagues, but the NASL’s role as a recognized Division-2 league in Canada is untouched. But, as the NASL fights for relevance, the optics of going to the CSA with a “how can we help you?” stance definitely scores PR points for Peterson and his crew. Remember that the Canadian Soccer Association’s continuing plea to have Canadians recognized as domestics in Division-1 MLS has consistently fallen on deaf ears. In 2009, Canadians saw an average of 1404.1 minutes per team in MLS; in 2013, that number had plummeted to 1025.2 minutes allocated per team to Canadians, despite the fact that the number of Canadian franchises had gone from one to three in that time.

(A full breakdown of the plunge in minutes available to Canadians in MLS can be found in the first issue of Plastic Pitch)

Peterson also backed his league’s decision to ask CONCACAF to give the NASL its own berth in the region’s Champions League. He said the league is one of the big players in the region, and the NASL champion does deserve to go to the Champions League. But he knows the best way for the league to prove its worth is to have either Ottawa or FC Edmonton upset MLS competition in the Amway Canadian Championship, or have an NASL team win the U.S. Open Cup. Then it will be more difficult for CONCACAF to ignore NASL’s call for recognition as a unique entity.

The NASL season opens this weekend with two Canadian teams in action — the Ottawa Fury and FC Edmonton. While Peterson told journalists on a season-preview conference call that his preference is to see more teams in the American midwest and west, he hasn’t ruled out more teams on the U.S. East Coast or… Canada.

Peterson will no longer talk about specific cities — a marked change of strategy, as in his tenure we had grown used to him speaking quite candidly about what cities were in the expansion bubble. But he said that “even more intense conversations” are being had with one interested party in a Canadian city, and that things “continue to run hot and cold” in another market north of the border.


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  1. Serge

    April 14, 2014 at 5:48 am

    It Will be better to create a national Canadian soccer league a la MLS than putting teams in American system. Australia, China, India, Mexico, Costa Rica have their own leagues: in order to develop their own players with their own rules …

    • Seathanaich

      April 15, 2014 at 3:03 am

      China and India have a billion people each. Australia is a continent that isn’t attached to a neighbouring country with 10x its population, like Canada. Mexico is 100 million people in a country where soccer is by far the most popular domestic sport. Costa Rica is the size of a postage stamp, a place you can drive across in a few hours; in contrast, you need to fly for several hours, at massive cost, to go from one major Canadian city to another. To sum up: none of the nations you mention has any relevance at all to Canada’s situation regarding professional soccer.

  2. Metasyntactic variable

    April 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    If Peterson gives Canadians domestic status, I’d support the three MLS teams threatening to voluntarily relegate.

    Let’s take Garber/MLS out!

  3. jay

    April 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    If Kingston gets their new 8600 seat stadium i think they would be very likely to get a team.

  4. Tomas

    April 9, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Hamilton is most likely the next Canadian team in the NASL in 2016, the other hot and cold one may be Calgary but they don’t have a proper NASL stadium to play in. Quebec City may be in the mix as well.

  5. Jos

    April 9, 2014 at 3:13 am

    I guess Peterson forgets his league is D2 and therefore has no claim or right to a CONCACAF slot. Should the Mexican D2 league get a slot? What about Costa Rican D2? They are way better leagues than the NASL. The guy is delusional and a snake oil salesman. Eventually Don Garber will tire of his nonsense and crush him like a fat bug.

    • Vancouver

      April 11, 2014 at 7:41 am

      All those leagues, if they do have a 2nd division have promotion/relegation. They have a chance to move up and compete for a spot. That is not true for the US teams, All non-MLS teams only have chance through the US open cup. Xolos was a club formed in 2007 that moved up from 2nd division play into Liga MX and claimed a CONCACAF slot. If it was the MLS way, we would have never heard of them.

  6. Seathanaich

    April 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Hopefully it’s more than lip service, which is all Garber feels towards Canada. Garber almost never remembers that his league is in two countries. The MLS writing staff usually do; but the commissioner constantly talking only about “this country” and “the US” indicates that he hasn’t grasped that his league now belongs to two countries, not just one. The attitude of the boss matters, because it percolates down to operations.

    The ideal thing for Canadian soccer would be for Calgary to be in NASL, rather than USL, to create that rivalry with Edmonton. Seeing Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Quebec in USL would see the three groupings by population of the nine biggest Canadian cities in their natural North American soccer tier.

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