A professional soccer team in the new National Independent Soccer Association is coming to the Philadelphia market next fall, the league announced on Thursday.
“They have been playing soccer since 1881 in Philadelphia, and we are excited to be adding to that proud tradition,” NISA President Bob Watkins said in a news release. “It is a city where they founded the first professional soccer leagues in America back in 1894 and three years later brought home their first national championship. NISA will be honored to add to that legacy when our inaugural season begins in 2019.”
NISA is expected to kick off its inaugural season next August and run a fall-to-spring season with a winter break in December and January. The name of the Philadelphia team, venue and ownership group will be announced “in the coming weeks.”
The league, which applied for sanctioning as a Division III professional league with the United States Soccer Federation in August, has no entry fee for clubs to join.
The Philadelphia market is the second market to be formally announced, joining Connecticut, which was announced on Monday.
“Philadelphia is a city that has been in love with our sport for generations, and NISA is proud to call it home,” Watkins stated.
One potential location for the team could be South Jersey.
American Soccer League CEO and Philadelphia Fury owner Matt Driver was aiming in 2016 to bring a North American Soccer League team to a potential stadium on land owned by Rowan University in Harrison Township. This is the same property that was proposed as a home for a Major League Soccer stadium in 2006 and where the youth soccer organization Elite Development Program (EDP) is developing a soccer complex.
The press release does emphasize the “city of Philadelphia” though, suggesting the team might be aiming to play within the city limits.