Soccer

Miami FC to stay in NASL – for now

Miami FC forward Dario Cvitanich (12) prepare for the game in the tunnel prior to their game against FC Edmonton at Ocean Bank Field at FIU stadium on May 28, 2016.
Miami FC forward Dario Cvitanich (12) prepare for the game in the tunnel prior to their game against FC Edmonton at Ocean Bank Field at FIU stadium on May 28, 2016. Logan Riely

Miami FC will stay in the North American Soccer League — at least for now.

U.S. Soccer decided, after several weeks of discussions and speculation, to grant “provisional Division II status” to the NASL and the United Soccer League (USL) for the 2017 season.

NASL was already the second-tier league but struggling financially, and the USL was third-tier despite growing to 30 teams. Neither league currently meets all the criteria for Division II, and they will be required to meet additional requirements, such as league size, stadium size and field dimensions in order to keep their status beyond this season.

The NASL was in danger of folding after Minnesota United went to Major League Soccer, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury switched to USL. Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Jacksonville Armada, Rayo OKC and the New York Cosmos were all in serious financial trouble.

On Monday, the NASL announced it had “amicably parted ways” with Commissioner Bill Peterson and will carry on with eight teams this season — Miami FC, FC Edmonton, Indy Eleven, Jacksonville, N.Y. Cosmos, North Carolina FC, Puerto Rico FC and the San Francisco Deltas. Rayo OKC was not retained. Rishi Sehgal, the league’s business development director, was named interim commissioner.

Sean Flynn, the CEO of Miami FC, was relieved and “extremely excited” that the league will live on.

“That was a turbulent time we just went through, but the ownership groups we have left are strong and committed to get this headed in the right direction,” Flynn said. “There are a number of investment groups interested in joining our league, and I feel very confident we will get back to 12 teams, or more, and come out with a bright future.”

The Miami FC season opens in April.

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