Minor league soccer is one step closer to coming to Omaha.
An upstart league, the National Independent Soccer Association, announced Wednesday that teams in eight cities including Omaha have applied to play in the league’s inaugural season in 2018 or 2019.
Tim Pendrell, former executive director of Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce, is leading the local organization effort. The group is still searching for a lead investor, the league’s co-founder Peter Wilt said.
The Chicago-headquartered NISA plans to apply for Division 3 sanctioning in U.S. Soccer next month, which would place the league two tiers below Major League Soccer in the American soccer hierarchy.
The league’s mission statement calls for growth to 24 teams and the eventual integration of a promotion/relegation system, the first in the U.S.
Other markets applying for membership are Charlotte, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; a to-be-determined city in Connecticut; Miami, Florida; Milwaukee; Phoenix; and St. Louis. According to the league, investors in seven other markets have signed letters of intent to play in 2019.
Meanwhile, Omaha Storm Chasers owner Gary Green’s pursuit of a Division 2 United Soccer League team in Omaha is still ongoing.
Green’s group is aiming to launch a team in 2019.