Whatever happened to the NASL expansion idea

Every so often you hear something about Hamilton getting an NASL team potentially to go into the new stadium along with the Ti-Cats. I have the feeling that it's on a holding pattern until the stadium gets built; but there's not really any information out there. I think it would be great for the team in that there would be more total match days to spread out the operating cost of the stadium around.

Has the story gone cold or is it something that's still percolating out there?

Lots of percolation. Nothing is the least bit decided yet, but there are many interesting discussions taking place. It will probably be quite a while before anything firms up enough to make the news. But something positive is likely to happen some day. It is a soccer stadium after all. :wink:

Can anyone shed some light on the status of tier 2 and 3 league soccer in North America, and where Hamilton might fit in?

What's the latest? A year or so ago there was quite a bit of flux

The Canadian Soccer Association completed a study this spring about the future of D2 and D3 soccer in Canada. There will be no domestic D2 league in Canada so NASL is it. They will look at a regional U23 D3 league similar to the CHL but sanctioned by each provincial association.

The NASL teams will compete with the MLS teams for the Canadian Championship and a berth to the CONCACAF champions league. Edmonton has a NASL team and Ottawa has an expansion team next season. There were reports that the NASL was looking at potential teams in Calgary, Winnipeg and Hamilton.

Does that sum it up?

Thats great to hear. When there is a team I'm in for helping start a supporters group. I'd love a team here.

It helps a lot. Thanks for the reply !

Some questions:

What does D2 and D3 mean? Division 2 and Division 3?
If so, Is MLS considered D1?
Is NASL considered D2, and if so ,must a certain proportion of teams be U.S teams?

MLS is Division 1. The top tier
NASL is Division 2. One step below but fully professional.
Right now there is CSL in Ontario and PLSQ in Quebec in Division 3. Division 3 is semi pro. The CSL may or not be sanctioned next year because of a match fixing scandal. I dont know what happens to D3 in Ontario after that.
After that there are amature teams in D4 and lower.

I hope you guys end up deciding to start up in the NASL. They're doing some good things and I like Ottawa's business model. Best option for the future of pro soccer in Canada. Lower startup costs, less interference from the front office (compared to MLS), chance to play against Canadian MLS clubs and in the CONCACAF Champions League, host teams from major cities like New York and Atlanta, and what I have to think are tons of synergies with the football team. Good luck on the soccer team, Bob, and a curse upon your football team, muahahahah!

By and large there is no difference in quality between the MLS and NASL teams.
They play X games and also during the yearly Concacaf play downs.
Overall the quality of North American soccer to include these two is so far below the world level maybe 5th tier at best.
For the Hammer they would be best to get an NASL team probably at less than $1M while the MLS franchise fees is way over priced.

Having done some research in this topic allow me to explain.

In most soccer leagues (we’ll use the English system since they are the most well known). The various teams from the pro all the way to your beer league team are put into a series of tiers. Tier 1 being the well know Premier League, Tier 2 being the The Football League champion ship and so on. Now in those systems, if the last two teams are at the bottom of the league, they get relegated to the lower league, and the top two of the lower league get promoted. Basically think of it like if the Leafs finished in the basement, they’d get sent to play in the AHL and the Calder Cup champion got to move up to the NHL.

Anyways, depending on how well a countries clubs/support they have, FIFA determines a number of berths per country that get to move the regional continental championship. Almost always, the top team of the top league that year gets to represent their country in the regional club championship, as well as a couple others based upon their record or various other tournaments outside the normal league play. The most well known of these is the UEFA Champions league (or Union of Europe Football Associations). North America has it’s own regional championship, the CONCACAF Champions league. (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football). Eventually the winner of those various continental championships moves onto the FIFA Club World Cup to see who (theoretically) is the best Soccer Club team in the world.

Now in North America, things are a bit different. Mainly because soccer isn’t as popular here and there simply aren’t investors in North America who are willing to contribute money to building soccer under the system of promotion and relegation. Thus the promotion and relegation of teams between the various tiers of soccer doesn’t happen. Much like you would never see the Leafs accept being relegated to the AHL. It tends to operate more like the NFL/CFL model (which perhaps is unfair but I think is apt). The NFL will occasionally poach players from the CFL, and vice versa, although the talent level is still pretty close, and typically the contracts prevent this kind of poaching from going overboard. However much like the two leagues MLS gets far more exposure then NASL. The only time teams have been promoted are basically because the owner of a tier 2 team, bought his way into MLS (and despite being a team already, are technically a brand new, expansion franchise. This is what happened with Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps). The MLS teams generally would never accept being relegated to the tier 2 league (which in this case is NASL…sorta).

This is where it gets even more confusing. You see, Canada only has three Tier 1 teams, and a single tier 2 team right now. The CSA has never made it’s own tier 1 league really, because there simply aren’t enough owners who have the facilities/teams who can play at a high level, and to be honest, doesn’t feel that a Canadian league could draw enough fan support in Canada alone to be financially sustainable. So instead, the CSA allows teams to piggyback on the US system (MLS/NASL) who don’t have a problem with it, because they are still large markets they can make money on and don’t take issue so long as at least 75% of the teams are US. The four Canadian teams basically play their for bragging rights in MLS/NASL. Sure they can win the MLS cup, but doing so they don’t qualify to move onto the continental regional championship we spoke of earlier if they manage the feat, since it’s the US’s league.

Canadian teams instead have a yearly tournament, the Voyaguers Cup, where (so far) the top Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams have competed to represent Canada at the CONCACAF Champions league. Since Canada only has one berth, and the tournament is between four teams, it’s painfully short so it doesn’t interfere too much with the MLS season, and still lets Canada field a team at the Champions league. It is technically Canada’s tier 1 league, even though it’s pretty much a six game knockout tournament and not a season. Now for the most part, Canada has always just allowed all of it’s MLS/NASL teams play in this tournament, because we’ve only ever had three to four teams. TFC, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Edmonton. However, now with Ottawa entering the scene and talk of a new tier 2 league in Canada may change this.

Basically the Canadian Soccer Association (FIFA’s Canadian governing body) has been undergoing an overhaul lately, and soccer is getting more and more popular and the CSA wants to stop Canadian teams just piggybacking on the US leagues (understandably so, more higher quality Canadian teams playing, means more higher quality Canadian players who can help out the national team). However, it also gets that the three MLS teams hold a lot of sway and really drive a lot of soccer’s popularity. So what the CSA has been tinkering with is the idea of running it’s own tier 2 league. Basically this league would operate like the CHL, with three or four regions (to keep travel costs down). The West, Ontario and Quebec/East have their own seasons, and the winner of each league then moves on to play the others in the CSA championship. The theory being after that, that team then gets the #4 berth in the Voyaguers Cup (proving they are the best) vs the other three MLS teams, which is the incentive for Canadian teams to join the CSA’s league vs NASL which they can basically only win the Calder Cup.

This also means that if it does come around, the CSA might not sanction teams to play in the NASL anymore. However, the CSA hasn’t made this league, and really hasn’t got the idea off the ground, mainly due to an abject lack of ownership groups. So for the time being the NASL is looking to expand itself (as it’s a pretty small league, 12 teams including Ottawa and two more who just came on board) and throw in some Canadian markets who generally have done better then US markets, since for now the CSA seems to have no problem with letting them play in the Canadian championship (or at least the best one of them in the Canadian Championship). However they are limited by the USSF (FIFA’s US governing body) restriction of needing 75% US teams in their league (and apparently one team is in Puerto Rico which is a grey area if it’s considered US), so right now there might be room for one more Canadian team in that league, so not a lot of room to expand.

Thus that is where we stand, the core item here is how the CSA plans on dealing with tier 2 soccer. It’s pretty sure that it’s not going to touch the MLS teams as they have a lot of money, and won’t take kindly to the idea of playing for less money on a tier 2 contract compared to the MLS contract. However there are rumblings of MLS not doing so well financially so that is also a thing. There is also some division 3 and 4 soccer leagues in Canada, but they get next to no serious attention because they are semi-pro league and generally just don’t generate enough interest. Keep in mind, FC Edmonton is a tier 2 team and they are pulling around 2,000-3,000 or so (although when Montreal and Vancouver were in NASL they were pulling 12,000 or so) and fans and even the MLS teams aren’t pulling much more then 20,000 and TFC I’m to understand is suffering around 15,000 now after several seasons of not making the playoffs.

Canadian Soccer League is recognized by the FIFA governing scoccer body
The NASL is taking the full reigns of the Tier IIsoceerleague being sanctioned before that the USL was involved as a Tier II and Tier IIIleague as well as many other leagues like womens etc,
MLS is the TierI in Canada and the US.
NASL currentlyonly has8 teams with two inNorther US cities one in Edmonton 1 in PR.the rest are in the southeast US area.
The NASL would love to have these new stadiums with new franchses or franchises moved from another league to place into the new stadiums in both Winnipeg as well as Hamitlton.
There was a ton of disorganization with this the last few years but this apeeaers to be what FIFA will be going with.

Bob, you better put something other than the cats in there or it will be one lonely place most of the time! Whatever happend to your offer to build an ampatheatre in the west harbour??? i know you didnt get your east mountain site but you also didnt have to put up ONE CENT for this site. I hope you are a man of your word on this subject,because it would be a great thing for this city.

The next few years could be very exciting time's for the Nasl New York is new this year then next year Ottawa/Indy/Virginia in 2015 Oklahoma and Jacksonville are expected to join plus rumors of Calgary and Winnipeg it would be nice to get Hamilton to have 5 Canadian teams would be big.

I think the ampitheatre idea was shot down by the city at the time as it was part of the East Mountain stadium package. That's my understanding. That was a big mistake by the city IMHO if that is in fact what happened. That ship has sailed it seems.

I'm not a big soccer fan but it would be great if the soccer community in this city and area were able to muster up something with the Cats to put a decent team in the new stadium for the soccer fans, would be great for them and make more use of the stadium.

I like your summary, but one part needs correction. The CSA is looking at setting up a domestic TIER 3 league, or provincial leagues, NOT Tier 2. The Easton Report recommended MLS as Canada's Tier 1, NASL as Canada's Tier 2, and setting up CHL-style, provincially-based semi-pro Tier 3 leagues with a large focus on players under the age of 23 for the purposes of player development.

This is the source of friction between the CSA (Canadian Soccer Association) and the CSL (Canadian Soccer League). The CSL has ambitions to be a professional league, but it's not very successful. Many of its best teams find success from bringing adult pro and semi-pro players from Europe (Croatia, Serbia) who are looking to gain international experience and/or immigrate to Canada. The CSA feels (rightly, I think) that this doesn't do enough to develop Canadians for professional and national teams. The CSA (not the CSL) is the only body in Canada vested with any authority from FIFA, so expect to see the CSL desanctioned next year. CSL teams will either have to fold, go rogue from FIFA, or join a new Tier 3 development league more to the CSA's liking.

A Hamilton team belongs in Tier 2, and that means NASL. MLS is too ambitious to expand to medium-sized markets, let alone ones in Canada. Based on the support seen for existing Tier 3 clubs in the CSL, whatever the new Ontario league looks like will be too small-time to share a stadium with the Tigercats, and besides would be semi-pro. A fully professional Tier 2 team in Hamilton paired with a Tier 3 practice/development/academy team(s) somewhere between London and Niagara would be ideal.

Interesting dmont about this friction between the CSA and CSL, I didn't know about that although as I say I don't follow soccer that much. But was intrigued enough to look further and found this article. It's even affecting the MLS Toronto and Montreal academies:

Canadian Soccer League De-Sanctioned, Will play in 2013

[i]If the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC academies were not already planning on playing elsewhere in 2013 this would certainly be a serious problem for both clubs. It seems that they have cut their ties with the league just in time to avoid really being dragged down into what is promising to be quite the mess.

For now Toronto FC has not made public any plans for where their senior academy sides will be playing in 2013 but it is clear that they will no longer be in the CSL. They may be forced to be without a home and rely on tournaments and exhibition play this summer while they wait for Ontario's League One to get up and running.

The story around the CSL will remain one to follow but at least now it seems that both Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association have made the wise decision to distance themselves from the league and look to move forward with something better.[/i]

[url=http://www.wakingthered.com/2013/3/5/4066780/canadian-soccer-league-de-sanctioned-will-play-in-2013]http://www.wakingthered.com/2013/3/5/40 ... ay-in-2013[/url]

Oh yeah, it was a pretty big mess for a while, and probably will be again in 2014.

[url=http://canadiansoccerleague.com/newsnet/templates/?a=689&z=5]http://canadiansoccerleague.com/newsnet ... ?a=689&z=5[/url] [url=http://canadiansoccerleague.com/newsnet/templates/?a=694&z=5]http://canadiansoccerleague.com/newsnet ... ?a=694&z=5[/url] [url=http://canadiansoccerleague.com/newsnet/templates/?a=695&z=5]http://canadiansoccerleague.com/newsnet ... ?a=695&z=5[/url]

The CSA and CSL went to arbitration to see if the CSA was allowed to desanction the CSL prior to the 2013 season. Both sides claimed victory from the result, though for the CSL is was almost certainly pyrrhic. The arbitrator said that the CSA was NOT allowed to desanction the CSL... until 2014. So yeah, basically the CSL got a year reprieve from the axe, which will undoubtedly fall in 2014.

If you read the CSL's press releases, they're surprisingly smug about what was really a devastating ruling, in the long term.

I think it's safe to say the CSL will be de-sanctioned next year or a rump of it will be sanctioned by the Ontario Soccer Association.

For Hamilton though the possibility to a NASL team is ideal. If the team can draw 10-15k per game it will be extremely successful and I think it's reasonable. The Canadian Championship is going to continue to grow in visibility within the media marketplace and that CONCACAF Champions League spot will be very important.

I'm glad there's ongoing talks about it and hopefully something comes to fruition.

I believe from what I have read that an NASL team will be hear and I will be extremely happy to support a team.It will also be exciting to see our team play the Canadian MLS teams.Another venue of pro sports in our city is another great form of entertainment for us Hamilton folk and Iam sure the other smaller towns and cities around us would want that also. :cowboy:


This is a strange development:

Toronto FC may have a USL Pro partner in relocating Toronto Lynx

[url=http://www.wakingthered.com/2013/8/15/4624918/usl-pro-hamilton-toronto-fc-lynx-partnership-tim-hortons-field]http://www.wakingthered.com/2013/8/15/4 ... tons-field[/url]

By Dave Rowaan ? @soccercanada on Aug 15 2013, 1:28p

[i]With MLS moving towards a stronger partnership with USL Pro to provide better competition for their reserves a lot of Toronto FC fans have been left wondering just what the club would do in terms of finding a location for their reserves to potentially go out on loan. As Kurt Larson wrote earlier this week TFC are clearly interested in taking advantage of this program but with no USL Pro clubs currently in Canada the options seemed limited for Toronto FC. It looks like the Toronto Lynx could be on the verge of making a big move that would allow them to fill that void though and become a potential partner for the MLS club.

In a letter to the City of Hamilton dated the 10th of July, Alain Theroux the President of the Toronto Lynx requested the city's "consideration for our application, to relocate our Soccer franchise operations into the City of Hamilton, with an ambition of making the new Soccer Stadium our home base location."


I don't know if Bob Young's involved with this effort, but I doubt it given that he wasn't mentioned in the article or in any of the correspondence. It appears a third party is trying to undercut any of Bob's soccer efforts in Hamilton.

A TFC-affiliated USL-Pro team in Hamilton seems doomed for a number of reasons. 1) It would undermine any efforts for the Ontario-based D3 semi-pro development league that the CSA's Easton report says it should follow, 2) It would bring a challenge from the CSL, who are being de-sanctioned on the premise that the OSA is going to be in charge of D3 soccer in the province, 3) the team wouldn't be able to play regular season games against a potential regional rival in Ottawa, 4) USL-Pro in not the most professional of leagues, with several teams regularly drawing below 1,000 spectators, 5) I think Hamilton fans would resent being a minor-league affiliate of a Toronto team, 6) Being an affiliate, I doubt this team would be allowed to play for the Voyageurs Cup against NASL and MLS teams, 7) The Toronto Lynx have never amounted to anything.

Here's hoping this does not come to pass, and Bob opts to place a team in the NASL instead!