NISA Adds NY Cosmos and New Amsterdam To Fall Line Up
Just days after the kick-off of the 2020 spring soccer season, the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic struck silencing the green soccer fields all across America.
The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), along with Major League Soccer (MLS) and United Soccer League (USL) and National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) shutdown and placed a moratorium on training.
Solidarity has been our weapon to fight against COVID-19 and our global soccer world responded quickly and united to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
While everyone wants to see a return to play, at this point in the pandemic the world is struggling in this challenging and unprecedented environment — and it is critical to protect against a resurgence of COVID-19.
“The world has changed, and with it, so must we.”John Prutch, NISA Commissioner
In response to the pandemic, NISA formed a COVID-19 Task Force to work with medical experts, the U.S. Soccer Federation, and the other professional soccer leagues to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 global environment as well as assemble NISA’s Return to Play (RTP) protocol for its clubs.
The NISA’s Return to Play protocol will be comprised of three phases:
- Return to Training
- Return to Match Play
NISA’s Spring Season launched in February and had been scheduled to end in June; however, due to the global impact of COVID-19, this has become an unrealistic time frame for the league to get back to the pitch to complete the season.
Impact of COVID-19: NISA will not complete spring season 2020.
As a result, NISA is officially announcing the cancellation of the balance of the Spring Season.
However, NISA is simultaneously announcing the confirmation of the new Fall 2020 Season which is planned to kick off in August and complete in November. NISA and its member clubs are welcoming the NY Cosmos and New Amsterdam FC to the league’s competition this fall.
“California United Strikers is extremely excited to get back to training —hopefully soon — and get ready for the fall season in NISA,” said Michael Collins, President of California United Strikers.
“We are disappointed our Spring Season is canceled but we support and understand NISA’s decision.”Michael Collins, President California United Strikers
“This is the best decision because we don’t know when we can start playing again. The league is making a smart decision,” said Alexandre Gontran, 1904 FC‘s head coach who is also eager to get back training his squad. “The fact to play with ten teams in the fall season and to compete against the famous team, the NY Cosmos, is exciting.”
“NISA has done a great job in the midst of all the uncertainty.”Max Mansfield, Sporting Director New Amsterdam
We are super excited to get going in the fall season, ” said Max Mansfield, Sporting Director New Amsterdam.
“We believe that NISA’s decision to cancel the spring season was very prudent,” said Erik Stover, New York Cosmos Chief Operating Officer. “Our plan was always to have our players report on June 1st to prepare for the fall season.”
Stover indicated that NY Cosmos are currently reviewing their Coronavirus protocols before training will begin in 5 weeks.
“It is critical for all sports, and the country in general, to have reliable testing — and I don’t think we are there at the moment.”Erik Stover, New York Cosmos Chief Operating Officer
Oakland Roots also agreed with the cancelation of the NISA spring season. “We look forward to getting on the field when the time is right. We will continue to follow the recommendations set forth by the CDC and health officials moving forward,” said Edreece Arghandiwal, CMO. “The health of our community, our players, and staff is important to us.”
At this point, NISA is preparing for the Fall Season to be played in one of three environments:
- Closed door
- Open door with a limited number of fans,
- Open door
The final determination of the game day environment will be predicated by best practices and recommendations from NISA’s COVID-19 Task Force, comprised of medical experts, along with guidance from the CDC and concern for the health and well being of our players, staff, and fans.
NISA will continue to adhere to guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as mandates from the State and local governments.
NISA Commissioner, John Prutch, acknowledged that there are still many details that cannot be worked out today, such as whether or not spectators will be allowed to attend matches and when exactly clubs will be allowed to return to training.
In America, where soccer has seen tremendous growth, our country’s new professional league NISA has led the way for dreams to come true and players to become professionals.
NISA provides new opportunities for America’s famously optimistic ‘can do’ approach.
In just one season, the league was recognized for its pathway for young pros to gain important time on the field and minutes of play.
The National Independent Soccer Association is also planning it’s inaugural NISA Independent Cup, a competition between a collection of NISA clubs and is in discussions with select high-level amateur clubs including Little Rock Rangers, Soda City FC, Omaha Bugeaters and Fort Worth Vaqueros.
“This year, the NISA Independent Cup will be a regional competition to limit travel requirements and may be potentially held in a limited number of locations,” said Prutch. In addition, the 2020 Independent Cup will be behind closed doors and take place between Mid-July and Mid-August.
“Whether you’re an athlete or a business, you can adapt to unique challenges,” said Prutch. “At NISA, these shifts are being made in fundamental business strategies using creative, adaptive, and strategic solutions to resume play when it is safe and reasonable to do so with continued advisory from top medical experts.”
“The path to achieving these goals is fluid as we adapt to an ever-evolving landscape, and we will proceed with care and ensure all of the appropriate steps are in place as we move forward,” said Prutch.
“One of the things that’s hard to do with any league is to measure its impact of the heart of the sport but at NISA some of our players have been trying for years to become professionals,” said Prutch.
“Commitment to a dream is something that just doesn’t get measured, and I think these players show this on the field.”John Prutch, Commissioner NISA
“This commitment inspires all of us and strengthens our dedication,” said Prutch who recognizes NISA’s role in America’s pathway for pro players. “NISA’s fall season will be exciting. Last year our inaugural season thrilled fans with intense competition and the upcoming season should even be better as we welcome the New York Cosmos and New Amsterdam FC (NAFC).”
“The NY Cosmos is a great brand known throughout the world and will bring a lot of exposure to the league,” said Prutch. “The Cosmos bring a legacy of achievement and experience to the boardroom. We are also very excited to have NAFC in NISA and they bring a meaningful derby to the New York metropolitan area.”