Amidst our discussions over USL-PRO and the USSF soccer pyramid, the NASL released some good news this week and announced its 2011 season schedule.
The NASL, now composed of eight clubs, will have each club play 28 games and face each opponent four times. The season runs from April 9 through September 24, with the top six teams making the playoffs. The top two seeds will receive a bye, and seeds 3-6 will face-off in a one game quarterfinal round. The winners will then advance to face the top two seeds in a home-and-home semifinal round, before the two finalists play a home-and-home championship the weekends of October 22 and 29.
You can read the press release here.
The teams composing the 2011 NASL are the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina (formerly the Carolina Redhawks), FC Edmonton, FC Tampa Bay, Miami FC, NSC Minnesota Stars, Montreal Impact, and Puerto Rico Islanders. In 2012, NASL hopes to add a San Antonio franchise and will lose Montreal to MLS, while Miami will become Miami FC/Strikers.
The schedule and playoffs are ambitious for such a small league, but many of these clubs have good fanbases and support, so the success of the 2011 season is possible. The big IF however is the unresolved “second division” situation; if NASL cannot get that resolved by the February USSF meeting, the thoughtful schedule may be for naught.
Thoughts on the NASL schedule and playoffs?