NISA: Initial Thoughts

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For those who haven’t heard, there’s a new pro league on the block. The National Independent Soccer Association – NISA – will begin play in the spring of 2018 with an initial number of 8-10 teams. Although it’s not yet confirmed, there’s the very strong possibility that Detroit City will be one of them. We won’t know for sure until after this season, but operating under the assumption that City will be making the jump, here are my first takes:

(1) I think choosing the NISA over USL or NASL is the best-case-scenario for the club. The fee to join will be much lower and, as a charter member, they’ll have a hand in shaping the league from the ground-up, rather than having to navigate the established rules and regulations of the second division leagues.

(2) Since the goal is for the NISA to be fully compliant with USSF’s D-3 standards, the requirement for D-3 clubs to have an owner with a net worth of at least $10 million who controls at least 35% of the club must be considered. While City ownership is undoubtedly working on this (and may have it sorted out behind the scenes for all we know), it’s just one more thing to think about.

(3) One thing I haven’t seen much about is how the current players and coaches will be affected. Obviously, those with college eligibility remaining would not be on the roster next season unless they left school early. As for the post-college and soon-to-be post-college players, the rest of this season could take on another level of significance as a sort of extended tryout for next year. The same can also be said for any of the coaching staff who have aspirations beyond college soccer. In any case, a high amount of turnover is likely this fall and winter as tough decisions will be made all around.

(4) No details on a salary cap or player movement rules yet, but I’ll be watching very closely for any news. From what I’ve read, I’m hopeful the structure will be similar to NASL – no cap, players owned by the clubs rather than the league (as in MLS), true free agency, etc. It will also be interesting to see if the NPSL side will be maintained as a de facto reserve/youth team.

2017 Roster Tracker

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Updated 3/7/17 – Newcomers listed in bold. (Alternate positions in parentheses).

Tyler Moorman (RM/RB) – Twitter
Mauricio Castorino (LW/RW) – College Bio   Twitter
Kyle CoffeeCollege Bio   Twitter   Video
Roderic GreenCollege Bio   Twitter   Video
Shawn Lawson* – MW Pro Soccer Combine Profile   Twitter   Video
Derrick Otim College Bio   Twitter   Video 1   Video 2
Max Todd College Bio   Twitter

*Played for DCFC in 2013 & 2014

Attacking Midfield/Wing 7
Jeff Adkins – Twitter
Tommy Catalano (F) – Twitter
Andrew Dalou – Twitter
Cyrus Saydee – Twitter
Spiro Pliakos – Twitter
Dalton Amez (CM) – College Bio
Tyrone Mondi Article   Interview

Center Midfield5
George Chomakov – Twitter
Dave Edwardson – Twitter
Troy Watson – Twitter
Aaron Franco (FB?) – College Bio   Twitter   Video (HS highlights but they show his style and skillset – technical, offensive-minded CM)
Luke Hauswirth (RB) – College Bio   Twitter

Zach Schewee (R/L) – Twitter
Spencer Glass (L) – College Bio   Twitter
Adam Spinks (R) – Twitter   Video

Seb Harris – Twitter
Zach Bock College Bio   Twitter  
Stephen Carroll
College Bio   Twitter   Video
Owain Hoskins College Bio   Twitter   Video

Joe Smith – Twitter
Nate Steinwascher – Twitter
Colin Miller College Bio   Twitter   Video

2017 Schedule Analysis

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With City’s annual open tryout this past Friday and now the full 2017 schedule dropping, the new season cycle has officially begun. It’s been a solid six months since we’ve had anything to sink our teeth into, so let’s get to it.

The initial thing to note is that the new divisional format means City will play 14 league matches in two months, as opposed to 12 over the same time period in 2016. Not having an Open Cup commitment, while disappointing, also means that the early part of the season will be a little less crowded with fixtures.

The very first weekend should provide ample evidence as to whether or not City has put last season’s struggles behind them. In 2016 Milwaukee Torrent went 6-0-0 in the provisional Midwest Central division while Michigan Stars took a win and a draw out of their two meetings with DCFC.

The next two matches are against the teams that finished #1 and #2 in the division last season – Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. Following the latter matchup on Friday, June 2nd, City will have to make a long trip to Indiana on Sunday the 4th. Despite the fact that Indiana looks to be probably the weakest team in the division, going on the road after a short turnaround makes this a potential trap.

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2017 NPSL Midwest Divisions

I am alive. I haven’t written anything in four months mainly for two reasons: (1) This season burned me out and I just didn’t friggin feel like doing anything for a while, and (2) Unlike 2015, this fall was utterly devoid of any real news pertaining to City.

Things have perked up over the last few weeks, however, and now there are a few items worthy of discussion. I planned on covering the NASL/USL/MLS expansion drama and what it has to do with City, but I’ve decided to save that for my annual State of the Club post which will be up sometime in January. Maybe by then the NASL will have kicked the bucket and will make my analysis that much easier, but for now I’d like to focus on the latest annual reshuffling of the NPSL’s Midwest divisions.

Sidenote: I’m going to call them “divisions” even though the league bizarrely insists on calling them “conferences.” In every major sport in North America, the nomenclature goes: League – Conference – Division, with a descending number of teams in each. NPSL for some reason goes: League – Region – Conference. Everyone I know uses the word “division” to describe the group of teams that City plays in the regular season, and it just sounds better, so that’s what I’m going with.

Anyway,  the formats of the past two years (single 12-team table in 2015, east & west divisions in 2016) seemed to provide good balance and worked well – i.e. the teams that truly deserved to make the playoffs made it and the ones that didn’t deserve it didn’t.

With the rebooting of the old Central Division, now known as the North, the Midwest Region is returning to the unbalanced, poorly structured format of 2014, in which Detroit City finished one point behind Lansing United for most overall points, but failed to qualify for the 4-team playoff because it didn’t win its division and had a lower points-per-game average than the wildcard qualifier.

Not to dwell on the past, but just look how stupid this is:

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