The North American Soccer League (NASL) is readying to reveal that its newest expansion club will be in Los Angeles, Calif. A league announcement is anticipated within the coming weeks.
Multiple reliable sources, each citing high-ranking league officials, also inform INDY Week that the new Los Angeles-based NASL club plans to enter league play beginning in the 2015 fall season.
This expansion rollout recalls the entry of the New York Cosmos into the NASL in 2013, when it also began league play in the fall season and ultimately won that year’s NASL Soccer Bowl championship.
When reached for a response, a league spokesperson informed INDY Week that the league has no official comment on this topic.
The Cary-based Carolina RailHawks is a member of the NASL.
The announcement of a Los Angeles expansion club would occur as the deadline looms for the NASL to expand into the Pacific time zone. According to the most recent Division II Professional League Standards promulgated by U.S. Soccer, obtained by INDY Week in September, any sanctioned D2 men’s outdoor soccer league must have at least one member club in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones by year six of their existence. The USSF first provisionally sanctioned the NASL in 2011, and an LA expansion club would be the league’s first Pacific outpost.
The identity of the investors in the LA expansion club remains unknown. Two other outstanding issues are the name of the new club and where it would play its home matches. No information is yet forthcoming on either topic.
The NASL currently holds the trademark to the “L.A. Aztecs” brand and logo. The Aztecs competed in the original NASL for eight seasons from 1974-1981. That said, the NASL also holds the trademark to several other so-called “legacy” brands, including the Chicago Sting, Baltimore Bays, Washington Diplomats and Detroit Express.
The original Aztecs club played its debut 1974 campaign at the present-day Weingart Stadium in East Los Angeles. Today, Weingart is a 20,000-seat facility owned by East Los Angeles College that has been retrofitted with a FIFA-recommended FieldTurf playing surface.