Home NASL & USL More NASL & USL The Canadian-positive NASL franchises south of the border close up shops

The Canadian-positive NASL franchises south of the border close up shops


During the 2015 season, the best places for Canadian soccer players to find work in the United States were San Antonio and Atlanta.

Despite an imbalanced system which sees MLS and NASL teams treat Americans as domestic players north of the border but Canadians as internationals south of the border, the Scorpions and Silverbacks averaged giving 110.2 and 105.5 minutes per game to players from our home and native land. That was the most out of all American MLS and/or NASL teams — and more than the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact give to Canadians, too.

Now, with the announcement that the Atlanta Silverbacks franchise has been suspended by NASL, both teams are gone.

In this off-season, the San Antonio soccer franchise was sold to the NBA’s Spurs, and moved to USL as the new owners felt that was a more likely route to the MLS end goal — after all, USL has an affiliation agreement with MLS.

On Monday, NASL announced that Atlanta — which was funded by owners in 2015 — would not return in 2016. Had the owners opted to fund the Silverbacks for another year, the burden would have been especially tough on the Ottawa Fury and FC Edmonton. The Canadian dollar is currently worth just a little over 70 cents US, so the exchange rate on funding an American team would have been brutal.

“The goal all along has been to secure committed local ownership in Atlanta, but despite significant conversations with a number of interested parties, we were unable to identify a group that could lead the Silverbacks in a direction consistent with the rest of our clubs,” said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson in a release issued by the league on Monday night. “It’s unfortunate, and particularly sad for the Silverbacks’ passionate fan base, which has supported the club tremendously throughout the years.

“We have made incredible strides in just five short years, and one of the key pillars of our league’s growth and improvement has been the emergence of a group of committed owners who believe in the long-term NASL plan,” Peterson said. “Unfortunately in Atlanta – a market we continue to believe could be successful in the NASL – there wasn’t an ownership group identified that met the very specific standards we hold ourselves to as a league.”

The Silverbacks employed Canadians Dominic Oppong and Kyle Porter last season — and Porter played more minutes in 2015 than any Canadian in either MLS or NASL.

The Scorpions had Canadian defenders Nana Attakora and Adrian Cann on the roster, and were coached by Canadian Alen Marcina.

Attakora has since signed with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and Marcina will be the new coach of the expansion Rayo OKC franchise.

The Silverbacks lost to the Cosmos in the 2013 NASL championship game. The Scorpions won the 2014 Soccer Bowl. Maybe a Canadian-positive policy and some on-field success isn’t a good combination for the American sides…

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One Comment

  1. cwell

    January 12, 2016 at 6:21 am

    So, what’s next for the NASL?

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