Sources close to the North American Soccer League (NASL) claim that the league plans to open the 2018 season in August instead of March as they await the results of an appeal against US Soccer. The appeal, spearheaded by Miami FC, challenges US Soccer’s decision to revoke the NASL’s second-division status.
The 2018 season is likely to follow the schedule of major leagues around the world, beginning in August and ending in late May or early June. The new schedule raises a few questions around the future of 1904 FC.
The first question is- when would 1904 FC start playing?
In previous years, the NASL has operated with a split-season schedule, playing separate spring and fall seasons. If the 2018-19 season is another split-season, San Diego likely will not see soccer until 2019. The season would likely split in January, possibly taking a winter break like that of the German Bundesliga, which suspends competitive matches for the month. If next season does not split, 1904 FC’s participation is entirely dependent on how active they are during the summer’s international transfer window – the club’s only opportunity to add talent from other clubs after this month. If 1904 FC is ready by August, the club has a good chance to play.
The second question is- where will the club play?
Originally, 1904 FC planned to spend the 2018 season playing in the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium before moving to a planned stadium in Oceanside. With the change in schedule, the club will most likely need to re-negotiate with USD officials in order to use Torero Stadium through the winter. With the original agreement already covering use during the football season (at least through October), it is unlikely that USD will deny 1904 FC the stadium. Of course, if 1904 FC does not start playing until early 2019 – which seems to be the most likely possibility – they could open in their own stadium. The delayed debut creates five more soccer-free months in which the stadium in Oceanside could be finished. Whether at USD or in Oceanside, it is likely that whenever they start playing, 1904 FC will have a stadium to play in.
The third question is- what is the of the future of the NASL?
Earlier this week, rumors began swirling that Indy Eleven would be moving from the NASL to the United Soccer League (USL). With the NASL season pushed back, the Indianapolis club’s move is quite probable. Indy’s departure would leave the NASL with six teams for the upcoming season, including 1904 FC and fellow expansion team California United. However, with United making very few developments, that number could very well be down to five by opening day. That scary possibility, combined with the schedule change has prompted discussion of a restructured NASL. Depending on the source, between six and twelve National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) are looking to move up into the NASL. For now, the future of the NASL is no more certain, as it seems to hinge on the result of the league’s appeal.
For 1904 FC, there is little more to do than continue to build a team. The club has a strong front office, but little else beyond that. The club has no manager, nor do they have any players. NASL executives are unlikely to make any decisions regarding the existence of the league until after the appeal process has finished. Until then, 1904 FC has little to do other than prepare for opening day, whenever that is.