NPSL Continues to Grow

Expansion continues at a torrid pace in the NPSL. When Scratching the Pitch last reported on the addition of teams, 15 had been added. In the last month, another 8 clubs have elected to join one of the largest amateur leagues in the country.

The most recent slate of NPSL expansion teams stretches across the continental United States. The NPSL added a couple of teams to the Northeast, where the league already had a strong footprint. Several additions to the upper Midwest have bolstered the NPSL’s new presence in states like Minnesota. Additions to California and the Pacific Northwest strengthened the league’s presence in areas where competition was relatively scarce.

Below is the list of teams that have added to the NPSL since mid-December. Announcements of new teams are expected to continue throughout the rest of the winter.

Viejos Son Los Trapos FC (announced 19 Dec 17)

St. Paul, MN – Midwest Region / North Conference

Juan Fiz, a former NPSL All-Star player, is listed as the president of VSLT FC.

“We bring the passion of Latin American players and fans to the table of high competition, guaranteeing a different philosophy, one that is based on team strategies that have worked for years in our local leagues,” Fiz remarked in a statement released by NPSL.

City of Angels FC (announced 19 Dec 17)

Los Angeles, CA – West Region / Southwest Conference

City of Angels was founded by PJ Harrison, a creative director, and Joe Sumner, a musician and tech entrepreneur. It was previously reported that Sumner was interested in pursuing an NASL team, but backed away due to potential litigation against the USSF by that league.

“The purpose of City of Angels FC is to reflect the area and its culture while being a proactive and inspiring part of the city with the local community at its heart and ultimately to provide a club culture the city can be proud of and one that can provide an alternative choice in the world-famous LA sporting landscape,” Harrison said in an NPSL press release. “There’s a world-class sporting heritage in Los Angeles and we want to write our own chapter.”

Sioux Falls Thunder FC (announced 20 Dec 17)

Sioux Falls, SD – Midwest Region / North Conference

General Manager Amadu Myers grew up playing soccer in Ivory Coast before moving to the United States in 2004. He was part of an FC Fargo side that won the American Premier League championship in 2015.

“Sioux Falls has lots of good soccer players and by joining the NPSL in the North Conference our fans get to see our players face other good teams in our region,” Myers said in a league press release. “To continue to build on our relationship with the fans while competing for a playoff spot and to grow our rivalries with the other North Conference teams.”

The Thunder will play home matches at O’Gorman High School.

Med City FC (announced 21 Dec 17)

Rochester, MN – Midwest Region / North Conference

General Manager Frank Spaeth worked in the front office of former PDL side Rochester Thunder.

“We’d like to get ourselves established in the community and create a good product that improves as the years go by,” Spaeth remarked in a statement released by the league. “We want to create a team consisting of the best players in southeast Minnesota, combined with players from around the country and the world, that will offer excitement to the Rochester community and give young players in our area strong role models.”

Napa Valley 1839 FC (announced 22 Dec 16; brand revealed 18 Jan 17)

Napa, CA – West Region / Golden Gate Conference

A quartet of investors heads up the Napa Valley ownership group. Josh Goss, who manages a medical practice, and Arik Housley, a businessman, are members of the local community. Jonathan Collura and Michael Hitchcock are sports entrepreneurs from Texas.

“The Napa Valley is the second-most visited place in California and Northern California is a hotbed for soccer,” Hitchcock said in an NPSL release. “We knew that if we were able to develop a strong brand, the quality of soccer was already there to make this special. We’re excited to bring the beautiful game to Napa Valley and provide opportunities for local players to pursue their dreams of playing professional soccer and fans and sponsors the opportunity to support their hometown team, Napa Valley 1839 FC.”

Napa Valley 1839 FC will play home games at Memorial Stadium.

Elm City Express (announced 9 Jan 17)

New Haven, CT – Northeast Region / Atlantic Conference

The Elm City Express is led by President Zack Henry, Vice President Luiz Henrique Martins Ribeiro, General Manager Brian Neumeyer, and Head Coach Teddy Haley.

“One of the interesting and differentiating characteristics of the Elm City Express ownership organization is that for roughly two years we have owned and managed a professional soccer club in Brazil: Clube Atlético Tubarão,” Henry said in an NPSL release. “Through that experience, we have learned a lot: including the importance of being as engaged as possible with our local fan base and community. We expect that in the months and years ahead, we will have ample opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices between the U.S. and Brazil, ranging from training techniques to matchday planning.”

Elm City will play home matches at Reese field on the campus of Yale University.

Westchester United Soccer Club (announced 18 Jan 17)

Westchester, PA – Northeast Region / Keystone Conference

WCUSC is led by a nine-member board of directors, a talented front office, and coaching staff that includes General Manager Mark Thomas, NPSL & Men’s Elite Program Head Coach/Director Blaise Santangelo, Finance Manager/Assistant Coach Andrew Elkin, Director of Player Personnel/Manager Vince D’Ambrosio, Business Manager/Assistant Coach Salvatore Saladino, and Director of Advertising/Goalkeeping Coach Marco Giancroce.

“We hope to compete and finish in the top third of our conference,” Santangelo said in a league release. “We want to compete with our men’s program and allow players to progress to the highest level.”

Ciccarone Turf Field will serve as the home venue for Westchester United.

Spokane Soccer Club Shadow (announced 19 Jan 17)

Spokane, WA – West Region / Northwest Conference

Spokane Shadow is led by Technical Director Abbas Faridnia, President Barrett Scudder, and Head Coach Chad Brown.

“We are looking forward to a raise in the completive level and are hopeful that we will be competitive in the NPSL,” Faridnia stated in a league release. “We do want to provide our area of players and fans the opportunity to watch soccer live at the highest level we can provide. We are a small market team that has a great fan base in one of the hotbed areas of the United States.”

SC Shadow will compete home matches at Spokane Falls Community College Stadium.

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