U.S. Soccer delays decision on fate of Indy Eleven’s league

The Indy Eleven will have to wait until later this month to find out the fate of their struggling professional league.

The U.S. Soccer Federation’s board of directors met in New York City on Tuesday and decided to postpone a decision about the North American Soccer League, where the Eleven have played since their first season in 2014.

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

The NASL ended its latest season in mid-November with 12 members, but is facing the possibility of losing half of them, putting it in danger of not receiving approval from U.S. Soccer, which sanctions the league.

“After continuing discussions with NASL and USL, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors postponed the decision on sanctioning/re-certification of leagues for Division 2 and Division 3,” U.S. Soccer said in a written statement. “We expect to have further discussions in the next 7-10 days as we focus on the resolution of this important matter.”

Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus and other soccer writers speculated Tuesday that the NASL will be dissolved and at least three members, including the Eleven, will move to the USL, which will be upgraded to a second-tier league. The USL played with 29 teams this season and would be on track to have more than 30 next year if that occurs.

Indy Eleven officials said the team plans to play next year whether it remains in the NASL or not.

“To our fans & partners. We cannot thank you enough for your incredible patience as these unique circumstances continue to be resolved,” the team tweeted Tuesday. “Know that Indy Eleven continues to plan ahead for the 2017 season at Carroll Stadium and that we will provide updates as possible.”

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