NASL gets full Division-2 sanction By Steven Sandor Posted on March 3, 2012 1 0 539 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter The United States Soccer Federation has granted the North American Soccer League official Division-2 status. The decision, made by the USSF in Miami this morning, ensures stability for FC Edmonton, Puerto Rico Islanders and the six U.S. mainland teams in the circuit, as well as the coming expansion franchise from Ottawa. “After a successful inaugural campaign in which we worked to stabilize Division 2, we are pleased to have the formal approval that fully empowers us to move ahead with our plans to grow our league. We look forward to continuing to play a critical role in the development and maturation of soccer in North America and the Caribbean,” said David Downs, NASL Commissioner. The decision from the USSF was anticlimactic. The USSF already had revealed its intentions when the U.S. Open Cup draw was released, and the six U.S. mainland teams were entered into the competition as officially recognized Div.-2 entrants. Really, today’s vote was a matter of dotting i’s and crossing t’s. Last season, the USSF gave the NASL only a provisional one-year sanction, as the governing body was concerned about that Brazilian agency Traffic held a large concentration of team ownership — and that the Minnesota Stars were owned by the league. But new Division-2 rules were established last season, to ensure that NASL will be more stable than previous lower-division pro leagues in North America, where teams regularly folding in mid-season or scrambled to find new investors. The toughest new rule? That every team owner had to put up credit worth US$750,000 into a kitty that would be put into a pool to help struggling franchises. The USSF takes the lead on sanctioning issues in leagues that have Canadian and U.S.-based teams. Of course, the Canadian Soccer Association is undertaking its own study on Division-2, to see if this country would be able to sustain its own league. But, it would be hard to imagine Ottawa or FC Edmonton preferring a move to a new circuit. After all, it’s OK for Montreal, Vancouver or Toronto to move into MLS, but it’s not OK for other Canadian cities to explore opportunities outside this country’s borders? That double standard would be one of the most difficult political questions that would need to be answered in such a study.