Promotion/Relegation Opportunity Connects Leading Amateur League with Pro Level
The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) announced this week a new partnership with the Eastern Premier Soccer League (EPSL) to create a clear path to pro ranks for the region’s most ambitious clubs.
Kicking off this fall, the Northeast Region of NISA Nation will sit atop the existing EPSL conferences connecting into the EPSL’s existing structure through promotion and relegation.
Introduced last September, NISA Nation is a full-year league providing amateur independent clubs a groundbreaking path to professional status.
“The EPSL is proving once again to be a great partner for NISA,” says NISA Executive Vice President Josh Prutch. “This is a big step for independent clubs in creating an open system and giving players and clubs a chance to climb the ladder.”
The EPSL currently has established relationships with the Cosmopolitan Soccer League in the New York metropolitan area; the Garden State Soccer League in New Jersey; and the Baltimore/DC based Maryland Major Soccer League to establish the first regional-based, multi-league promotion and relegation system in the United States. The addition of NISA Nation will provide all of those clubs the opportunity to continue to push their ambitions against strong amateur clubs across the region.
“With the help of NISA, specifically Landon and Josh, we were able to take the complicated issue of pro/rel to put together a structure that encompasses numerous leagues,” says EPSL Secretary Bill Marth. “Now a club at the lowest levels with hard work and determination can climb all the way to NISA Nation, and – if professional standards are met – to the pro ranks.“
As is the case in moving from a state league into the EPSL, the move from EPSL into NISA Nation requires clubs to maintain those higher standards in terms of quality of play, financial obligations, and venues. NISA and the EPSL will work collaboratively to build the region by identifying a minimum of eight top-quality amateur clubs who wish to self-promote into NISA Nation as a founding member.
Opportunities for self-promotion will remain available until the region hits full capacity at 16 clubs. At that point, the league will close and promotion into NISA Nation will come exclusively through meritocracy via the EPSL. The EPSL will grant two clubs per year the opportunity to promote. In conjunction, two teams from NISA Nation will be relegated into their pre-designated EPSL conference.
“When we formed NISA Nation, it was intended to be the link between amateur clubs and NISA.”Josh Prutch
“NISA Nation is a key ingredient in providing sustainability in our system. Over the coming weeks, there will be additional announcements regarding partnerships with amateur affiliations.”
NISA was founded upon principles that included meritocracy and the open system. NISA aims to continue to work in partnership with its affiliate leagues so that the launch of NISA Nation will strengthen the open system that NISA and its partners are working to create.