Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton NASL gets one-year sanction; FC Edmonton’s preseason in gear

NASL gets one-year sanction; FC Edmonton’s preseason in gear

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After a close board vote on Friday, the decision to give NASL the Division 2 sanction was ratified by the membership of the United States Soccer Federation Saturday in Las Vegas.

But the sanction is only good for the 2011 season. According to a release from the league, “The NASL will need to meet certain requirements defined by the Board of Directors to be granted full sanctioning beyond the 2011 season.”

The sticking point is the fact that Traffic USA, a subsidiary of the Brazilian soccer agency Traffic Sports, has ownership stakes in the Atlanta Silverbacks and Carolina RailHawks, as well as being the proprietor of the Miami FC/Miami Strikers franchise. The USSF continues to be concerned about the concentration of ownership.

When NASL held its media conference call before the USSF vote, league CEO Aaron Davidson compared Traffic’s ownership shares in the three franchises to groups like AEG and the Hunt Family, who have had stakes in multiple MLS teams.

“Today is a historic day for soccer in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. We’ve worked dillgently over the past several years to implement a new vision for second division and would like to thank USSF President Sunil Gulati and the USSF staff for their leadership, cooperation and support in creating this next chapter for the professional game in the region,” Davidson said in a release from NASL.  “We are committed to buidling a new second division which will develop markets, players, coaches, referees, executives and adminsitrators and give soccer fans throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico a league and teams to be proud of.”

NASL and the USSF will hold a press conference Monday to discuss the decision.

Now that sanctioning is out of the way, the focus moves to the preseason preparations of the eight teams. FC Edmonton coach Harry Sinkgraven is still looking at two prospects per week, before the team leave for preseason camp March 5-19 in Arizona.

The club hopes to get a couple of training games in against the University of New Mexico, and would also like the chance to play at least one exhibition game against MLS opposition, even though nothing is finalized yet. Several MLS team will be in Arizona in the first week of March.

When the team gets back from Arizona, the official roster will be announced. Expect to see most of the players who stuck with the club through its 2010 slate of friendlies to stick with the team. FC Edmonton’s management has stuck with these players — three of them trained in the Canadian university system — through 2010 and into winter training in 2011. The group has earned a shot, even though Sinkgraven is still seven or eight players short of getting his roster to 26 players.

FC Edmonton will hold a combine later in the season for local players, in hopes of building a reserve squad.

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