National Independent Soccer Association

The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) is a professional men's soccer league in the United States. The league is in the third tier of American soccer and began play in 2019.[1][2][3]

National Independent Soccer Association
NISA logo color.png
FoundedJune 6, 2017; 4 years ago (2017-06-06)
First season2019–20
CountryUnited States
(North American Football Union)
Number of teams11 (10 active, 1 on hiatus)
Level on pyramid3
Domestic cup(s)U.S. Open Cup
International cup(s)CONCACAF Champions League
(via U.S. Open Cup)
Current championsDetroit City FC (1st title)
Most championshipsDetroit City FC (1 title)
TV partnersEleven Sports
beIN Sports
Current: 2021 National Independent Soccer Association season


League beginningsEdit

On June 6, 2017, it was announced that the newly formed National Independent Soccer Association would begin play in 2018 targeting an initial 8 to 10 teams, later revised to 8 to 12 teams.[4] Initially, the league outlined plans to introduce a promotion/relegation system, once they reach their goal of 24 teams, the first in US professional soccer and in doing so act as a feeder league to the North American Soccer League (NASL);[5][6] however, the NASL ceased operations prior to those plans being implemented.

On February 13, 2018, NISA co-founder Jack Cummins died suddenly.[7] On May 17, 2018, NISA co-founder Peter Wilt left the NISA to help start up Forward Madison FC in Madison, Wisconsin in USL League One.[8] A committee of club owners has been formed to elect new leadership within the organization.[9]

Reorganization and start of playEdit

On August 31, 2018, NISA filed an application with the United States Soccer Federation for sanctioning as a men's professional league, playing at the third division.[10] On February 16, 2019, NISA was provisionally sanctioned as a Division III league by the United States Soccer Federation.[11] In May 2019, it was announced that clubs were not happy with the silence from the league and that Bob Watkins was no longer the President of NISA and that John Prutch had taken the helm as commissioner.[3] During this same timeframe, the league's start date was pushed back from August 2019 to a targeted September start date.[3]

On June 10, 2019, it became known that both Miami FC and California United Strikers FC were approved at the recent board of governors meeting to join NISA, while the previously identified club in Central Florida would play in Baton Rouge, Louisiana instead of Daytona Beach, Florida.[12] However, it was unclear whether either of the teams would start before the league's September start date.[12] On June 27, 2019 it was announced that Oakland Roots SC would have their inaugural season with the league in the spring season, rather than the previously announced NPSL Founders Cup.[13] On August 15, 2019, the league officially announced the addition of Oakland Roots for the 2019 season and Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, and Michigan Stars FC for early 2020.[14]

The inaugural season began on August 31, 2019, with a 3–3 draw for Oakland Roots SC and California United Strikers FC in Oakland.[15] On April 27, 2020, following previous postponements, the remainder of the 2019–20 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[16]

On September 10, 2020, the league announced that one of the original co-founders of the league, Peter Wilt, would be rejoining the league in a club operations capacity by attempting to establish a club in Chicago.[17] On September 15, 2020, one of the founding teams, Oakland Roots, announced that they were leaving the league to join the USL Championship a league in the second division of professional soccer.[18]

Development of the amateur and semi-professional gameEdit

On April 27, 2020, NISA revealed a new tournament called the NISA Independent Cup that would have member teams face off against high quality amateur and independent professional sides in a regional format.[19] The tournament and 15 participating teams were announced on July 1.[20]

NISA announced its first affiliation agreement with the Gulf Coast Premier League, a USASA affiliated amateur league based in the gulf coast of the United States, on August 13, 2020.[21][22] The partnership is set to provide a pathway to professional status for both clubs and players, while also allowing two GCPL teams to qualify for future editions of the Independent Cup based on league play. This was expanded to include the Midwest Premier League and Eastern Premier Soccer League on September 3 and 4, 2020, respectively.[23][24] On November 23, NISA announced a fourth agreement with the Mountain Premier League.[25]

On September 17, 2020, the league announced that it was establishing a full-year amateur league, the NISA Nation, that would serve as an incubator for amateur and semi-professional clubs that wish to move into NISA's professional league.[26] NISA stated that this full-season amateur league and its previously announced league affiliations would serve as the foundation of a fully open professional to amateur pyramid in the United States.[27]

The league announced an "alliance" with semi-professional women's soccer league United Women's Soccer on January 28, 2021,[28][29] with the target of launching a professional women's league in 2022. This proposed league would occupy the at the time vacant second tier of professional women's soccer in the United States. Many NISA clubs, including Detroit City FC,[30][31] Michigan Stars FC,[32] and NJ Teamsterz FC[33] field or had announced fielding UWS and UWS2 teams. However, on March 20, 2021 it was reported that the alliance had broken down and the leagues had gone their separate ways.[citation needed]



Team City Stadium Capacity Founded First season Head coach
Fall 2021 clubs[34]
California United Strikers FC Irvine, California Championship Soccer Stadium 5,000 2017 2019   Don Ebert
Chattanooga FC Chattanooga, Tennessee Finley Stadium 20,668 2009 2020   Peter Fuller
Chicago House AC Bridgeview, Illinois SeatGeek Stadium[35] 20,000 2020 Fall 2021   C. J. Brown
Detroit City FC Hamtramck, Michigan Keyworth Stadium 7,933 2012 2020   Trevor James
Los Angeles Force Los Angeles, California Jesse Owens Stadium 5,000 2019 2019   Thales Peterson
Maryland Bobcats FC Boyds, Maryland Maryland SoccerPlex 4,000 2016 2021   Samuel Okpodu
Michigan Stars FC Washington, Michigan Romeo High School Barnabo Field[36] 4,000 1982 2020   Alexander Strehmel
New Amsterdam FC Hempstead, New York Hofstra University Soccer Stadium 1,600 2020 2020   Bouna Coundoul
San Diego 1904 FC San Diego, California Canyon Crest Academy Stadium 5,000 2017 2019   Scott Morrison
Stumptown AC[37] Matthews, North Carolina Sportsplex at Matthews 5,000 2019 2019   Rod Underwood
Clubs on hiatus
New York Cosmos[38] Uniondale, New York Mitchel Athletic Complex 5,000 2010 2020   Carlos Mendes
Other announced clubs
New Jersey Teamsterz FC[39] Bayonne, New Jersey Don Ahern Veterans Stadium 7,000[40] 2017 Spring 2022   Javier Romero
Flower City Union Rochester, New York Marina Auto Stadium[41] 13,768 2020 Spring 2022[42] TBC
Valley United FC Phoenix, Arizona GCU Stadium 6,000 2020 Spring 2022   Adrian Gaitan


Team City Joined Final season Fate
Atlanta SC Alpharetta, Georgia Fall 2019 Fall 2019 Ceased operations
Miami FC Miami, Florida Fall 2019 Fall 2019 Moved to USL Championship[43]
Philadelphia Fury Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Fall 2019 Fall 2019 Ceased operations
Oakland Roots SC Oakland, California Fall 2019 Fall 2020 Moved to USL Championship[44]


Valley United FCFlower City UnionNew Jersey Teamsterz FCChicago House ACMaryland Bobcats FCNew York Cosmos (2010)New Amsterdam FCMichigan Stars FCDetroit City FCChattanooga FCStumptown ACStumptown AthleticSan Diego 1904 FCPhiladelphia FuryOakland Roots SCMiami FCLos Angeles ForceCalifornia United Strikers FCAtlanta SC

Current clubs   Future clubs   Former clubs   Club played in different league


Teams that no longer participate in the National Independent Soccer Association are in italics.

Year(s) won Split season
Year(s) won NISA
Detroit City FC 1 2020–21 2 Fall 2020, Spring 2021 1.5
California United Strikers FC 1 Fall 2019 2
Miami FC 1 Fall 2019 0.5

NISA Finals resultsEdit

Season Champions Score Runner Up Venue Attendance
2020–21 Detroit City FC 1–0 Los Angeles Force Keyworth Stadium 7,231

Season championship resultsEdit

Season Portion Champions Score Runners–up Venue Attendance MVP
2019–20 Fall No overall association champion decided[a]
Spring Season not complete due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2020–21 Fall Detroit City FC 2–1 Oakland Roots SC Keyworth Stadium 0[b]   Steven Carroll (DCFC)[45]
Spring[c] Los Angeles Force 3–2 Chattanooga FC Keyworth Stadium ~150[46] N/A

NISA Legends Cup resultsEdit

Year Champions Score Runner up Venue
2021 Detroit City FC 3-0 Chattanooga FC Finley Stadium

NISA Independent Cup championsEdit

Year Central Plains/South Central Great Lakes Mid-Atlantic Southeast Midwest New England Pacific Southwest West Coast
2020 Gaffa FC (GCPL) Detroit City FC Maryland Bobcats FC (NPSL) Chattanooga FC N/A
2021 Louisiana Krewe FC (GCPL) Detroit City FC Maryland Bobcats FC Chattanooga FC Milwaukee Torrent (NPSL) Lansdowne Yonkers FC (EPSL) PDX FC (USL2) California United Strikers FC Los Angeles Force

NISA Nation and AffiliatesEdit

In addition to its professional division, NISA operates a full-season amateur league called NISA Nation. NISA's stated long term goal is to have promotion and relegation between the professional division and NISA Nation, as well as between NISA Nation and seven affiliated regional leagues. Some of those affiliated leagues have entered into promotion and relegation agreements with other leagues, and so a pyramid can be constructed with NISA's Division III professional league at the top.

Level League(s)/division(s)
3 National Independent Soccer Association
10 clubs
4 NISA Nation
Northeast Region
6 clubs
NISA Nation
Southwest Region
5 clubs
5 Cascadia Premier League Gulf Coast Premier League Midwest Premier League Mountain Premier League Eastern Premier Soccer League Pioneer Premier League Southwest Premier League

Cascadia RegionEdit

Level League(s)/division(s)
5 Cascadia Premier League
First Division
8 clubs
6 Cascadia Premier League
Second Division
6 clubs

Gulf Coast RegionEdit

Level League(s)/division(s)
5 Gulf Coast Premier League
Eastern Conference
9 clubs
Gulf Coast Premier League
Western Conference
6 clubs

Midwest RegionEdit

Level League(s)/division(s)
5 Midwest Premier League
East Division
8 clubs
Midwest Premier League
West Division
12 clubs

Mountain RegionEdit

Level League(s)/division(s)
5 Mountain Premier League
4 clubs

Northeast RegionEdit

Level League(s)/division(s)
5 Eastern Premier Soccer League
Delaware River Conference
4 clubs
Eastern Premier Soccer League
Metropolitan Conference
10 clubs
Eastern Premier Soccer League
Mid-Atlantic Conference
8 clubs
6 Cosmopolitan Soccer League
Division 1
12 clubs
Garden State Soccer League
Super Division
8 clubs
Maryland Major Soccer League
Division One
6 clubs
7 Cosmopolitan Soccer League
Division 2
11 clubs
Garden State Soccer League
Semi-Pro Division
10 clubs
Maryland Major Soccer League
Division Two - Baltimore Met
6 clubs
Maryland Major Soccer League
Division Two - Capital Beltway
6 clubs
8 Cosmopolitan Soccer League
Division 3 - Central
9 clubs
Cosmopolitan Soccer League
Division 3 - East
9 clubs
Cosmopolitan Soccer League
Division 3 - West
9 clubs
Garden State Soccer League
A Division - Central
9 clubs
Garden State Soccer League
A Division - North
9 clubs
9 Cosmopolitan Soccer League
Division 4
10 clubs
Garden State Soccer League
B Division - Central
6 clubs
Garden State Soccer League
A Division - North Blue
6 clubs
Garden State Soccer League
A Division - North Yellow
6 clubs

Southwest RegionEdit

Level League(s)/division(s)
5 Southwest Premier League
Nevada Premier
6 clubs
Southwest Premier League
SoCal Premier First Division - North
6 clubs
Southwest Premier League
SoCal Premier First Division - South
6 clubs
6 Southwest Premier League
SoCal Premier Second Division
11 clubs
7 Southwest Premier League
SoCal Premier Third Division
11 clubs

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The "Fall Showcase" had both NISA conferences compete in separate championship games with both winners automatically qualifying for the Spring 2020 playoffs. Miami FC and California United Strikers FC won the East Coast Conference and West Coast Conference respectively.
  2. ^ Game was played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  3. ^ The Spring Championship was originally going to be contested between the 2021 Legends Cup Champion and highest finishing Spring Season season team, with the winner moving onto the NISA Championship against the Fall champion. However after Fall 2020 champions Detroit City FC won both the cup and finished first in the table the match reverted into a standard semifinal match and no trophy was awarded.


  1. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: The National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) – A New Division III Professional Soccer League Expects to Launch in 2018". NISA. June 6, 2017. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Inaugural Applicant Markets Announced for New US Pro Third Division Soccer League – NISA". Archived from the original on May 30, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Kivlehan, Chris (May 28, 2019). "With New Leadership In Place, NISA Breaks Its Silence". Midfield Press. Archived from the original on August 20, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  4. ^ "About". NISA. June 6, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "New league seeks to finally bring pro/rel to US soccer". NISA. June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "City said to be ripe for pro soccer". June 28, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "Obituary: NISA co-founder Jack Cummins". February 13, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "Big Top hires Peter Wilt to launch pro soccer team at Breese Stevens Field in 2019". May 17, 2018. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  9. ^ "Committee Formed to Select New NISA Leadership". May 17, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  10. ^ "NISA Submits Application For Division III Pro League Sanctioning". Midfield Press. September 4, 2018. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Kivlehan, Chris (February 17, 2019). "Breaking: NISA Sanctioned By USSF, To Start In August". Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Kivlehan, Chris (June 11, 2019). "Miami FC, Cal United Accepted Into NISA, Pro Soccer For Baton Rouge & Other News From NISA Board of Governors Meeting". Midfield Press. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  13. ^ "Oakland Roots Statement: League and Membership". Oakland Roots SC. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  14. ^ "NISA Announces Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC & Oakland Roots SC". NISA. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  15. ^ Zimmerman, Douglas (September 1, 2019). "Oakland Roots tie first ever game 3-3". SFGate. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  16. ^ "NISA Official Update". NISA Homepage. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "Soccer Pioneer Peter Wilt Applies for NISA Club in Chicago". Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Zimmerman, Douglas; SFGATE (September 15, 2020). "It's official: Oakland Roots moving to higher league, the USL Championship". SFGate. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Kennedy, Paul. "NISA cancels spring season, sets sights on August start to fall championship". Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "NISA Independent Cup". Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  21. ^ "NISA Announces First Amateur Affiliation With Gulf Coast Premier League (GCPL)". Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  22. ^ Kennedy, Paul. "NISA reaches first amateur league affiliation with GCPL". Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  23. ^ "MWPL Joins Forces with NISA". Midwest Premier League. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  24. ^ "NISA EXPANDS AMATEUR AFFILIATIONS WITH THE EASTERN PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE AGREEMENT". Eastern Premier Soccer League. September 4, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "NISA Scales up With Mountain Premier League Amateur Affiliation". December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  26. ^ "NISA Announces NISA Nation". Protagonist Soccer. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  27. ^ Norling, Ashle (September 15, 2020). "2021 US Soccer Expansion/Departure Tracker". E Pluribus Loonum. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  28. ^ "Equity and Opportunity at Heart of NISA Alliance with United Women's Soccer". NISA Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  29. ^ "UWS & NISA Announce The Launch Of A Professional Women's League". UWS Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  30. ^ "Detroit City FC announces women's team". Detroit City FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  31. ^ "Detroit City FC Adds Women's Reserve Side, Set to Compete in UWS League Two". Detroit City FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  32. ^ "Michigan Stars FC Announces a Women's Team in United Women's Soccer (UWS)". Michigan Stars FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  33. ^ "Expansion News: NJTFC Joins Women's Pro-Am League UWS". NJ Teamsterz FC Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  34. ^ "NISA Launches Into Spring With Tournament in Chattanooga". Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  35. ^ Hanania, Ray. "Chicago NISA Club names SeatGeek Stadium home". Suburban Chicagoland. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  36. ^ "Tweet". Twitter. Michigan Stars FC. April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  37. ^ "PRO SOCCER RETURNS TO STUMPTOWN FOR NISA SPRING SEASON". NISA. March 3, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  38. ^ "Thank you and stay safe, Cosmos Country". Twitter. New York Cosmos. January 29, 2021. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Girard, Wayne (August 17, 2020). "Descending the Pyramid: The New Jersey Teamsters Are Building a Soccer Institution". Urban Pitch. Retrieved August 17, 2020. The Don Ahern Veterans Stadium can fill 7,000 — we want to set our attendance at 2,500, and from there we will be able to expand.
  41. ^ Lewis, Michael. "PRIORITIES: Primary owner says NISA Rochester team will play at Marina Auto Stadium, targets 2022 start date". Front Row Soccer. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  42. ^ Feldman, AJ. "Rochester group bringing pro soccer back to the Flower City". Rochester First. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  43. ^ "Ottawa Fury FC Announce Relocation, Sale of Franchise Rights to The Miami FC". USL. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  44. ^ "USL Championship Welcomes Oakland Roots for 2021 Season". USL. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  45. ^ "2020 Fall NISA Championship Tournament MVP #NISAFCT20 Steve Carroll". Twitter. National Independent Soccer Association. Retrieved October 3, 2020.
  46. ^ "Tweet (with crowd photo)". Twitter. Chicago House AC. June 30, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2021.

External linksEdit