Growing up in the Chicagoland area, I was a big fan of the Chicago Sting and have fond memories of watching them play in the NASL against the likes of the New York Cosmos, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Los Angeles Aztecs and more. I was also excited when the NASL was reincarnated in 2009 as it was a big moment for the pyramid of the U.S. Soccer landscape, along with the development of younger talent.
Currently as the second-level on the soccer pyramid in the United States, below MLS and above the USL (United Soccer Soccer), the NASL has steadily increased its presence over the last few years. It’s a league been marked by expansion and a place where former teams have made the jump from NASL to MLS including the Montreal Impact and Minnesota United FC, who start MLS play in 2017. With teams across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean, it currently has its eyes set on further expansion, just this week announcing a team in San Francisco.
With that increase in league profile, this week was a monumental moment for the league when it announced it’s first nationwide TV deal with beIN SPORTS. It’s the first North American professional soccer league to announce a deal with the global sports network, who currently broadcast La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 matches, along with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers.
In addition to the minimum of 34 league matches broadcast on TV, every single matched played will be available to stream online with an authenticated TV subscription. As a regular watcher of beIN for some international soccer, I’ll be looking forward to streaming multiple matches this season in addition to those broadcast on TV.
Good soccer can be found at every level of competition and NASL is no exception. Here’s to the league gaining more recognition in the US.