National Independent Soccer Association

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National Independent Soccer Association
NISA logo color.png
FoundedJune 6, 2017; 3 years ago (2017-06-06)
First season2019–20
CountryUnited States
(North American Football Union)
Number of teams10 (9 active, 1 on hiatus)
Level on pyramid3
Domestic cup(s)U.S. Open Cup
International cup(s)CONCACAF Champions League
(via U.S. Open Cup)
TV partnersMyCujoo
beIN Sports
Current: 2020–21 NISA season

The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) is a professional men's soccer league in the United States. The league is in the third tier of American soccer and began play in 2019.[1][2][3]


League beginnings[edit]

On June 6, 2017, it was announced that the newly formed National Independent Soccer Association would begin play in 2018 targeting an initial 8 to 10 teams, later revised to 8 to 12 teams.[4] Initially, the league outlined plans to introduce a promotion/relegation system, once they reach their goal of 24 teams, the first in US professional soccer and in doing so act as a feeder league to the North American Soccer League (NASL);[5][6] however, the NASL ceased operations prior to those plans being implemented.

On February 13, 2018, NISA co-founder Jack Cummins died suddenly.[7] On May 17, 2018, NISA co-founder Peter Wilt left the NISA to help start up Forward Madison FC in Madison, Wisconsin in USL League One.[8] A committee of club owners has been formed to elect new leadership within the organization.[9]

Reorganization and start of play[edit]

On August 31, 2018, NISA filed an application with the United States Soccer Federation for sanctioning as a men's professional league, playing at the third division.[10] On February 16, 2019, NISA was provisionally sanctioned as a Division III league by the United States Soccer Federation.[11] In May 2019, it was announced that clubs were not happy with the silence from the league and that Bob Watkins was no longer the President of NISA and that John Prutch had taken the helm as commissioner.[3] During this same timeframe, the league's start date was pushed back from August 2019 to a targeted September start date.[3]

On June 10, 2019, it became known that both Miami FC and California United Strikers FC were approved at the recent board of governors meeting to join NISA, while the previously identified club in Central Florida would play in Baton Rouge, Louisiana instead of Daytona Beach, Florida.[12] However, it was unclear whether either of the teams would start before the league's September start date.[12] On June 27, 2019 it was announced that Oakland Roots SC would have their inaugural season with the league in the spring season, rather than the previously announced NPSL Founders Cup.[13] On August 15, 2019, the league officially announced the addition of Oakland Roots for the 2019 season and Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, and Michigan Stars FC for early 2020.[14]

The inaugural season began on August 31, 2019, with a 3–3 draw for Oakland Roots SC and California United Strikers FC in Oakland.[15] On April 27, 2020, following previous postponements, the remainder of the 2019–20 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[16]

On September 10, 2020, the league announced that one of the original co-founders of the league, Peter Wilt, would be rejoining the league in a club operations capacity by attempting to establish a club in Chicago.[17] On September 15, 2020, one of the founding teams, Oakland Roots, announced that they were leaving the league to join the USL Championship a league in the second division of professional soccer.[18]

Development of the amateur and semi-professional game[edit]

On April 27, 2020, NISA revealed a new tournament called the NISA Independent Cup that would have member teams face off against high quality amateur and independent professional sides in a regional format.[19] The tournament and 15 participating teams were announced on July 1.[20]

NISA announced its first affiliation agreement with the Gulf Coast Premier League, a USASA affiliated amateur league based in the gulf coast of the United States, on August 13, 2020.[21][22] The partnership is set to provide a pathway to professional status for both clubs and players, while also allowing two GCPL teams to qualify for future editions of the Independent Cup based on league play. This was expanded to include the Midwest Premier League and Eastern Premier Soccer League on September 3 and 4, 2020, respectively.[23][24] On November 23, NISA announced a fourth agreement with the Mountain Premier League.[25]

On September 17, 2020, the league announced that it was establishing a full-year amateur league, the NISA Nation, that would serve as an incubator for amateur and semi-professional clubs that wish to move into NISA's professional league.[26] NISA stated that this full-season amateur league and its previously announced league affiliations would serve as the foundation of a fully open professional to amateur pyramid in the United States.[27]

Alliance with United Women's Soccer[edit]

The league announced an "alliance" with semi-professional women's soccer league United Women's Soccer on January 28, 2021,[28][29] with the target of launching a professional women's league in 2022. This proposed league would occupy the at the time vacant second tier of professional women's soccer in the United States. Many NISA clubs, including Detroit City FC,[30][31] Michigan Stars FC,[32] and NJ Teamsterz FC[33] field or had announced fielding UWS and UWS2 teams.



Club City Stadium Capacity Founded First season Head coach
Spring 2021 clubs[34]
California United Strikers FC Irvine, California Championship Stadium 5,000 2017 2019 United States Don Ebert
Chattanooga FC Chattanooga, Tennessee Finley Stadium 20,668 2009 2020 United States Peter Fuller
Detroit City FC Hamtramck, Michigan Keyworth Stadium 7,933 2012 2020 England Trevor James
Los Angeles Force Los Angeles, California Jesse Owens Stadium 5,000 2019 2019 Poland Patryk Tenorio (caretaker)
Maryland Bobcats FC Boyds, Maryland Maryland SoccerPlex 4,000 2016 2021 Cameroon Phil Nana
Michigan Stars FC Pontiac, Michigan Ultimate Soccer Arena 5,000 1982 2020 Germany Alexander Strehmel
New Amsterdam FC Warwick, New York Hudson Sports Complex 2020 2020 Germany Maximilian Mansfield (interim)
San Diego 1904 FC San Diego, California Vic Player Stadium 3,700 2017 2019 France Alex Gontran
Stumptown Athletic Matthews, North Carolina CSA OrthoCarolina Sportsplex
Sportsplex at Matthews
2019 2019 United States Mark Steffens
Clubs on hiatus
New York Cosmos[35] Uniondale, New York Mitchel Athletic Complex 5,000 2010 2020 United States Carlos Mendes
Other announced clubs
Chicago House AC Bridgeview, Illinois SeatGeek Stadium[36] 20,000 2020 Fall 2021 United States C. J. Brown
New Jersey Teamsterz FC[37] Bayonne, New Jersey Don Ahern Veterans Stadium 7,000[38] 2017 Fall 2021[39] United States Javier Romero
Flower City Union Rochester, New York Marina Auto Stadium[40] 13,768 2020 Spring 2022[41]


Club City Joined Final season Fate
Atlanta SC Alpharetta, Georgia Fall 2019 Fall 2019 Inactive
Miami FC Miami, Florida Fall 2019 Fall 2019 Moved to USL Championship[42]
Philadelphia Fury Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Fall 2019 Fall 2019 Inactive
Oakland Roots SC Oakland, California Fall 2019 Fall 2020 Moved to USL Championship[43]


Teams that no longer participate in the National Independent Soccer Association are in italics.

Team NISA Final Year(s) won Split season
Year(s) won NISA
Detroit City FC 1 Fall 2020 1
California United Strikers FC 1 Fall 2019 1.5
Miami FC 1 Fall 2019 0.5

Season championship results[edit]

Season Portion Champions Score Runners–up Venue Attendance MVP
2019–20 Fall No overall association champion decided[a]
Spring Season not complete due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020–21 Fall Detroit City FC 2–1 Oakland Roots SC Keyworth Stadium 0[b] Republic of Ireland Steven Carroll (DCFC)[44]

NISA Independent Cup results[edit]

Year Region Champions National Champion Runners–up Venue Attendance MVP
2020 Central Plains Gaffa FC (GCPL) N/A[c]
Great Lakes Detroit City FC (NISA)
Mid-Atlantic Maryland Bobcats FC (NPSL)
Southeast Chattanooga FC (NISA)


As of February 22, 2021[45]


  • John Prutch – commissioner
  • Brian Melekian – chief operating officer
  • Joshua Prutch – executive vice president of expansion
  • Jim Thompson – chief financial officer
  • Ron Gilmore - senior director of operations
  • Samantha Prutch – director of communications

Previous leadership[edit]

  • Bob Watkins – president (2018–19)
  • Peter Wilt – co-founder (2017–18)
  • Jack Cummins – co-founder (2017–18)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The "Fall Showcase" had both NISA conferences compete in separate championship games with both winners automatically qualifying for the Spring 2020 playoffs. Miami FC and California United Strikers FC won the East Coast Conference and West Coast Conference respectively.
  2. ^ Game was played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional champions were unable to compete in a National Final tournament


  1. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) – A New Division III Professional Soccer League Expects to Launch in 2018". NISA. June 6, 2017. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Inaugural Applicant Markets Announced for New US Pro Third Division Soccer League – NISA". Archived from the original on May 30, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Kivlehan, Chris (May 28, 2019). "With New Leadership In Place, NISA Breaks Its Silence". Midfield Press. Archived from the original on August 20, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  4. ^ "About". NISA. June 6, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "New league seeks to finally bring pro/rel to US soccer". NISA. June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "City said to be ripe for pro soccer". June 28, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "Obituary: NISA co-founder Jack Cummins". February 13, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "Big Top hires Peter Wilt to launch pro soccer team at Breese Stevens Field in 2019". May 17, 2018. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  9. ^ "Committee Formed to Select New NISA Leadership". May 17, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  10. ^ "NISA Submits Application For Division III Pro League Sanctioning". Midfield Press. September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Kivlehan, Chris (February 17, 2019). "Breaking: NISA Sanctioned By USSF, To Start In August". Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Kivlehan, Chris (June 11, 2019). "Miami FC, Cal United Accepted Into NISA, Pro Soccer For Baton Rouge & Other News From NISA Board of Governors Meeting". Midfield Press. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  13. ^ "Oakland Roots Statement: League and Membership". Oakland Roots SC. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  14. ^ "NISA Announces Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC & Oakland Roots SC". NISA. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Zimmerman, Douglas (September 1, 2019). "Oakland Roots tie first ever game 3-3". SFGate. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  16. ^ "NISA Official Update". NISA Homepage. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "Soccer Pioneer Peter Wilt Applies for NISA Club in Chicago". Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Zimmerman, Douglas; SFGATE (September 15, 2020). "It's official: Oakland Roots moving to higher league, the USL Championship". SFGate. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Kennedy, Paul. "NISA cancels spring season, sets sights on August start to fall championship". Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "NISA Independent Cup". Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  21. ^ "NISA Announces First Amateur Affiliation With Gulf Coast Premier League (GCPL)". Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  22. ^ Kennedy, Paul. "NISA reaches first amateur league affiliation with GCPL". Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  23. ^ "MWPL Joins Forces with NISA". Midwest Premier League. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  24. ^ "NISA EXPANDS AMATEUR AFFILIATIONS WITH THE EASTERN PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE AGREEMENT". Eastern Premier Soccer League. September 4, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "NISA Scales up With Mountain Premier League Amateur Affiliation". December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  26. ^ "NISA Announces NISA Nation". Protagonist Soccer. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  27. ^ Norling, Ashle (September 15, 2020). "2021 US Soccer Expansion/Departure Tracker". E Pluribus Loonum. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  28. ^ "Equity and Opportunity at Heart of NISA Alliance with United Women's Soccer". NISA Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  29. ^ "UWS & NISA Announce The Launch Of A Professional Women's League". UWS Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  30. ^ "Detroit City FC announces women's team". Detroit City FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  31. ^ "Detroit City FC Adds Women's Reserve Side, Set to Compete in UWS League Two". Detroit City FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  32. ^ "Michigan Stars FC Announces a Women's Team in United Women's Soccer (UWS)". Michigan Stars FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  33. ^ "Expansion News: NJTFC Joins Women's Pro-Am League UWS". NJ Teamsterz FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  34. ^ "NISA Launches Into Spring With Tournament in Chattanooga". Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  35. ^ "Thank you and stay safe, Cosmos Country". Twitter. New York Cosmos. January 29, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  36. ^ Hanania, Ray. "Chicago NISA Club names SeatGeek Stadium home". Suburban Chicagoland. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Girard, Wayne (August 17, 2020). "Descending the Pyramid: The New Jersey Teamsters Are Building a Soccer Institution". Urban Pitch. Retrieved August 17, 2020. The Don Ahern Veterans Stadium can fill 7,000 — we want to set our attendance at 2,500, and from there we will be able to expand.
  39. ^ Gueye, Ahmadou. "NJTFC to Join NISA Nation Spring 2021". New Jersey Teamsters FC Homepage. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  40. ^ Lewis, Michael. "PRIORITIES: Primary owner says NISA Rochester team will play at Marina Auto Stadium, targets 2022 start date". Front Row Soccer. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  41. ^ Feldman, AJ. "Rochester group bringing pro soccer back to the Flower City". Rochester First. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  42. ^ "Ottawa Fury FC Announce Relocation, Sale of Franchise Rights to The Miami FC". USL. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  43. ^ "USL Championship Welcomes Oakland Roots for 2021 Season". USL. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  44. ^ "2020 Fall NISA Championship Tournament MVP #NISAFCT20 Steve Carroll". Twitter. National Independent Soccer Association. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  45. ^ "Leadership". Retrieved December 18, 2020.

External links[edit]