–ronan briscoe, mid-south writer
Going into this fall season, the landscape of lower league soccer in this country has changed. Desmond Armstrong has taken his expertise and his two clubs to NISA Nation’s new pyramid via his own league, the Pioneer Premier League.
With AFC 615 and 615 Heroes come We United FC, also from UPSL Mid-South; FC Birmingham, who was slated to join the division this Fall; UPSL Fall 2020 National Champions Atletico Atlanta; and their Atlanta counterparts Vinotinto Academy FC. The new league even received a bit of promo before the USMNT’s 1-1 draw in World Cup Qualifying in Nashville on Sunday night. Armstrong was named the Game Ambassador and was recognized during pre-match.
They’re not the only ones out this fall, though. Spring 2021 Champions Bowling Green FC are sitting out the Fall 2021 campaign while they plan for next Spring (my guess is they have their eyes set on the PPL), and it seems Pumas Premier are doing the same. This means there’s only 6 teams left in UPSL’s Mid-South Expedition Division.
Music City SC will be operating two teams, MCSC and a revival of Nashville Knights FC. Iturbide FC of Nashville joins while Saints FC remains, Elizabethtown Ignite FC of Elizabethtown, KY joins, and USC Revolution of Memphis also stays in the league. Unless Elizabethtown and Iturbide come in guns-blazing like BGFC did in the spring, (which they very well could, I have absolutely zero knowledge of either squad), the only real competition seems to be between Music City SC and Nashville Knights FC, two teams under the same umbrella.
This means that any plans I had of knowing what was going to come out of this fall season have gone completely out the window. Thanks NISA!
The growth of NISA Nation and USL League Two have come thanks to pushes from college coaches to have their players in these leagues, which they see as close in quality to what they’ll be playing in college.
This was explicitly mentioned in an email from Minneapolis City SC to its members when they were eyeing a move to USL2. This, along with pitches from NISA to these clubs has managed to convince a lot of clubs on NISA’s model, and I expect this to continue. Only 7 of UPSL’s 26 divisions currently have 10 or more members, compared to 9 just this past spring season. However, the club (or clubs now I guess) I work for remains in UPSL this fall, so I’ll continue to talk about them, as well as some PPL as it grows.
As things develop, I’ll break any news I receive as I get it. Here’s to a chaotic season!