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Future of Indy Eleven's league grows even murkier

December 5, 2016

The professional soccer league in which the Indy Eleven has played since the team’s first season in 2014 is shedding members, putting its future in doubt, according to several media sources.

The North America Soccer League ended its latest season in mid-November with 12 teams, but is in danger of losing half of them.

The latest team to reportedly call it quits is the high-profile New York Cosmos, who won their second straight league championship by defeating the Eleven in a shootout Nov. 13. On Monday, the Cosmos ceased operations amid financial turmoil, several media sources reported.

The NASL is the second-tier professional soccer league in the United States, behind Major League Soccer and ahead of the United Soccer League.

Several recent team moves are radically changing the NASL’s outlook.

The Minnesota United FC announced in August that it would leave the NASL in 2017 to join MLS.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury plan to leave the NASL next season to join the USL, and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Rayo OKC are struggling financially and unlikely to field teams.

The latest news about the Cosmos emerged too late Monday to contact Indy Eleven officials, but concerns about the NASL’s future have been circulating for months.

IBJ reported on the league’s potential problems Oct. 7. At the time, Eleven officials issued a statement that said the team “is continuing to plan ahead for all facets of the 2017 NASL season while we wind down our successful 2016 campaign.”

The U.S. Soccer Federation’s board of directors is meeting in New York City on Tuesday and could address the issue.

Sources say several possibilities could emerge, including a complete or one-year shutdown for the NASL and the possibility that some teams, including the Eleven, could jump to the USL.

 

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