1904 FC & California United Strikers Return, Oakland Roots Says Goodbye, Maryland Bobcats Say Hello.
NISA is the 3rd tier of professional soccer in America and a vibrant, highly competitive league with fans all across the country. 2021 spring season will begin with a tournament April 13-25 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Here is the update on what is happening at NISA as the spring season kicks off soon.
After a very successful 2020 The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) Fall Season which saw Detroit City FC win the championship in a dramatic final over Oakland Roots SC, the league announced that it new season will be divided into three phases beginning with the Cup Tournament on April 13th at W. Max Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.
The inaugural tournament, which concludes on April 25th, provides a segway to the second phase of the season which starts on May 1st and runs through June 27th with teams playing eight games split evenly at home and away.
The team earning the most points (table winner) will secure the second semifinal spot in playoffs.
“We are excited to welcome Maryland Bobcats FC as well as welcome back both San Diego 1904 and Stumptown Athletic,” said NISA Commissioner John Prutch.
“NISA has had an amazing off-season, so far, but we can’t wait to see our member clubs back on the pitch.”
There are a total of nine teams currently scheduled to compete this Spring season which are California United Strikers FC, Los Angeles Force, San Diego 1904 FC, Detroit City FC (defending champion), Michigan Stars FC, Chattanooga FC (Fall 2020 semifinalist), Maryland Bobcats FC, New Amsterdam FC and Stumptown Athletic.
The New York Cosmos recently announced a pause in operations and Oakland Roots announced they are moving up to play in the USL Championship for 2021.
“We also are excited at the prospect of welcoming back supporters to the stands,” Prutch added. “They are the ingredient we all sorely missed last fall. To include them in the NISA experience and to protect the full slate of club participants, we will continue to listen to the experts and take every COVID safety measure available.”
The final phase of the season is scheduled to start on June 30th with the semifinals and concluding on July 3rd with the championship. Both the semifinals matches being held at Keyworth Stadium in Detroit.
Undoubtedly, the teams to watch this season are 1904 FC who has been very active in recent months and played their last official on March 8th, 2020 ending in a tie with California Strikers United FC.
The team is expected to announce their roster and the location where they will play their home games in the coming weeks.
Also, Chattanooga FC had an impressive run last season falling in the semifinals by a score of 3-2 to Oakland Roots SC. They have re-signed goalkeeper Alec Redington who had many outstanding saves that kept his team competitive the previous season. While it is not known how many fans will be allowed during in the stadium during the inaugural tournament, Chattanooga FC is a fan favorite and expects to take advantage, putting on another good showing for the fans who are lucky enough to attend.
Phase 1: Cup/Tournament Play: April 13 – 25 (Chattanooga)
- Three groups of three clubs
- Culminates with a final
- Winner secures first semifinal spot in playoffs
Phase 2: Home & Away: May 1 – June 27
- Each club plays eight matches (four home and four away)
- Table winner secures second semifinal spot in playoffs
Phase 3: Playoffs & Final: June 30 – July 3 (Detroit)
- Semifinal: Wednesday, June 30
- Final: Saturday, July 3
While NISA will continue to follow its successful COVID return-to-play protocol, it is expected reduced capacity will be allowed at Chattanooga’s 20,412-seat W. Max Finley Stadium. Attendance for season and playoffs matches will be determined by clubs following their state guidelines.