We’ve had a club feature segment at smallworld for a while now, but to incorporate all the leagues we like to feature in the same umbrella, we’ve renamed this type of post to “now featuring,” and the first league we’re featuring is a local Florida league with loads of potential.
It’s no secret that the state of Florida is chock full of soccer clubs and leagues at a variety of levels.
Within the amateur category, it’s especially dizzying, as Route 1 Soccer recently unveiled on Twitter. According to that list, the NPSL, UPSL, and USL League Two all have a presence in Florida, while NISA Nation plans to. In addition, the National Soccer League (NSL) and Florida Gold Coast League (FGCL) are heavily if not entirely made up of Florida clubs.
So why add another league?
That’s exactly the question I put to Kartik Krishnaiyer, the newly-announced commissioner of a brand-new local league in Florida called the Premier Amateur Soccer League. He said that a lot of the motivation behind PASL was brought on by the effects of the pandemic.
A big part of the impetus was COVID; being able to control matches with single-site venues and temperature checks etc. Sometimes in other leagues this doesn’t happen because some clubs don’t have the resources or facilities. But longer-term the idea is to give a stable platform for our member clubs to have a year-round competition at a high level while promoting it accordingly.Kartik Krishnaiyer, deputy commissioner and executive director of PASL
The idea of adding elements that other leagues don’t have is awesome, but we have a problem around the country with new leagues competing with one another. What really caught my eye with PASL was a feature that makes them very different from other leagues:
PASL was started by a group of clubs that seek high-level regional play. All of the clubs are existing ones who currently play in other leagues like NPSL and UPSL and will continue to do so.Kartik Krishnaiyer
That would mean that PASL simply serves as an additional league rather than a competing one. As a result, established clubs like Boca Raton FC and Miami United are able to join with confidence and use PASL as a tool to make them better rather than tear them away from their previous leagues.
As a matter of fact, all five founding clubs for this Spring 2021 season are high-quality, as Krishnaiyer was quick to mention.
The level of competition should be quite high. Miami United, Boca Raton FC and Naples United are all established NPSL clubs. Miami United has in fact advanced as far as the 4th Round of the US Open Cup in the past. We also welcome to established UPSL sides, Florida Brothers and Palm Beach Stars. Miami United and Naples United finished just behind Miami FC, in our local NPSL Conference in 2019 – Miami FC won the NPSL National title that year and is now in the USL Championship.Kartik Krishnaiyer
To that end, the PASL starts for the very first time this weekend. Four of the five clubs are involved in the opening weekend, which will be held at a single site in Naples, FL. Here’s what the Saturday schedule looks like:
4 PM Eastern, Boca Raton FC v Palm Beach Stars
Boca Raton should be the favorites here, given their status as an NPSL club and being as well-established as they come. The Stars live up to their name, though, with some starpower from Central America in their team. Should be a fun season opener, but I’ll give Boca Raton a 3-1 win here.
8 PM Eastern, Naples United v Brothers FC
This matchup is more unknown. The Brothers are a Division II UPSL side who finished second in that division this past fall. An interesting thing to consider is that with the PASL’s neutral site feature, Brothers won’t be able to build on their perfect home record last season. Naples joins Boca Raton as an NPSL side in the fray, and they’re equally formidable. I think United will take this one 2-0 in their home city and kick their PASL existence off right.
If you’re wondering how you can keep up with the action, PASL have come up with a very professional way to keep the league easy to watch and follow.
We’ve partnered with a local production company, TopSite Agency, to launch PASL.TV which will deliver a unique experience to our fans. Every match will be streamed live with high quality graphics and commentary and we will have a weekly magazine program, most likely airing each Wednesday.Kartik Krishnaiyer
TopSite has developed a reputation for delivering high quality streaming services to local soccer leagues, so that’s an exciting partnership. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to follow the PASL closely as it kicks off for the first time!
As an exciting added bonus, the league announced on Wednesday that it would utilize coach challenge-induced VAR at its league matches, an unprecedented move for lower-league soccer. To my knowledge, this will make PASL the first league below MLS to implement VAR in the United States.
Make sure to follow them on Twitter at @PASLofficial and visit their website!
As always, stay weird and support local soccer!