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NASL considering changes to schedule, playoff format, and championship game

The league has reached out to several supporters groups asking what they think about several changes being considered

Mike Zarrilli

Indyweek is reporting that the North American Soccer League is considering some format changes in the future, and are soliciting feedback from supporters groups before making any radical changes. The league is considering changes to the schedule, playoff format, and name of the league championship, as they confirmed in the survey they circulated:

At the North American Soccer League, we value the opinion of you, our fans. As we consider making significant changes to our competition structure, we would like to request your input and feedback as it relates to postseason play and the NASL calendar.

The NASL is considering a proposal to broaden the competition for the overall annual NASL championship and Soccer Bowl trophy by creating a four-team competition. This competition would commence at the conclusion of the regular season. The participants would be the respective Spring and Fall season champions and the teams that boast the next two best overall combined (both seasons) records.

These four teams would play a single elimination competition to determine the overall League Champion for the year. We are also soliciting fan opinion regarding the NASL season and whether it should follow the established U.S. soccer calendar or the traditional European model.

The survey itself can be found here, and gives you a decent idea of what the league is looking at in terms of potential changes.

As to the specific changes the league seems to be considering, I think they're all fairly interesting. If we're going to see a playoff to determine the eventual champion, expanding from two to four teams seems to be the way to go in my opinion. I wouldn't be a big fan of an MLS sized playoff which waters down the competition, but expanding to a semifinal/final format wouldn't water down the competition. I would hope that the league would look at a two-legged semifinal though, with each participant hosting one of the legs.

I'd be interested to see what input they're receiving on the European calendar, as the weather in many NASL cities means an extended break would be required. The split season format actually makes more sense with this model, as it seems a bit pointless to continue if we remain playing through the summer.

Regardless of where this goes, it's nice to see that the NASL is looking to get feedback from their fans before making these types of decisions.