Today at the Tower (1st Mariner Building) Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale announced the formation of a new league for this upcoming season at a press conference. The new league will be name the NISL or National Indoor Soccer League.
Five clubs will make up the new NISL. The clubs are the Baltimore Blast, LaRaza de Monterrey, Philadelphia Kixx, Orlando Sharks and the Rockford Rampage. Each team will play a 18 game schedule with 9 home games and 9 away games. Games and schedules will not be released until later in September. But as of now the league games will begin in mid-November and conclude the 1st week of April.
The NISL will have the same rules and format as the old MISL; including a multiple point scoring system, 4 15-minute quarters and unlimited substitutions. Also the NISL will have a working relationship with the USL (United Soccer Leagues) and will become a member of the USSF (United States Soccer Federation).
Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale said at the press conference ” The former league had to be closed for clarification purposes. This way if we want to bring new teams into the league we do not have to go to the owner of the former teams in these cities for permission. The league can start with a new clean slate that will not hamper the growth of the NISL.”
Mr. Hale finished with this final statement “For those of you who know me, I am very competitive and we (the Blast) will put the best team out on the field this season.”
Kevin Healey the President of the Baltimore Blast then talked in more detail on the relationship between the Baltimore Blast and the USL and the USSF. He spoke of the importance for the NISL to be in partnership with these two organizations to help promote the vast wealth of young American soccer players. Mr. Healey then spoke of two areas that are important to him. 1st being the improvement of attendance for the Baltimore Blast home games. “Last year we averaged 7,200 a game and I would like to get the attendance back to the old glory days when the Baltimore Blast were selling out the Arena.” stated Mr. Healey. The 2nd area Kevin Healey wants to address now are the players. “Now that we have a league I can begin the process of signing our players and we will attempt to bring back our team from last year.” Mr. Healey said.
Baltimore Blast Head Coach Danny Kelly finished the press conference speaking about the importance to him to continue the development of local area talent. Right now the Baltimore Blast have 5 area players on their roster; Mike Lookingland, PJ Wakefield, Billy Nelson, Guiliano Celenza and Scott Buete. Coach Kelly also hopes to add Pat Healey (Calvert Hall, Towson and Crystal Palace) and a few more area players from UMBC and Towson University to the roster.
The feeling I took from today’s press conference is everybody is happy to be done with the MISL and looking forward to begin an new era with the NISL.