Joe Barone on the Relationship of the NPSL and USASA

Non League America Interview with Joe Barone

We would like to thank Joe Barone, Chairman of the National Premier Soccer League, for taking the time to answer a few questions we had.  Enjoy!


Steve Bayley: Tell me what you think about the prospects for the league this year. What’s going to be different in 2017? What’s new?

Joe Barone: Well look, there’s been huge growth, we have 96 teams. I believe we’re the largest men’s national adult league in the country. Operating in the 4 regions. We’re definitely in new markets where soccer teams haven’t participated on the national level, at least in markets like North Dakota and South Dakota, so that’s definitely a huge huge plus for us, I’m also happy to say that we’ve grown in areas where we’ve had difficulties, which is the Portland Seattle, whether you call it the Washington state and Oregon areas, so there is a huge growth in those markets and I’m happy with the work the staff has done, with the board of directors and the full time staff Jeff Tiffault.  We like to talk about hot spots, and those are the hot spots that we took time into finding teams and ownership groups who invested in the NPSL.

Steve: Those spots that maybe have been slightly tougher for the NPSL to crack, you mentioned the Pacific Northwest. At the same time, the Pacific Northwest is a hot spot of lower league soccer activity and soccer activity in general. What do you think is the proper or ideal relationship between NPSL and others, what does a strong relationship between a national league like NPSL and a strong regional league like the EPLWA look like in a market like that? How can they best work together and what is the relationship with regional leagues like that at this point? And how can there be mutually beneficial activity?

Joe:  That’s always the million dollar question… What I can say is that, myself, and the executive board and the NPSL, were going into all levels of soccer, I think you need the local 7 v7 and recreational and local leagues in cities and towns to regional leagues and national leagues. So, under USASA, what I’ve done with USASA President John Motta and Duncan Riddle, who is executive director of US Soccer, what we’ve done particularly is I’ve said guys, the sport here needs to come together and we need to standardize, to have standards for amateur soccer, so when people claim to be you know, Division 4, Professional, and so forth and so on, the only thing where there is standards under US Soccer is division 1, 2, and 3, and then you know technically, there is no Division 4 right? So you can claim that a national league like the NPSL and the PDL are technically Division 4, just by the fact that it’s a national league and it has a national championship, then I said OK guys, USASA and US Soccer need to come together to put a system in place where you have a national league, lets call it USASA 1 or A, or SU Soccer Division 4 that has standards and teams can meet those standards, and then put a system in place where its monitored, you cant have a system that’s not monitored. We’re working on that and hope to have some kind of resolution hopefully by the end of the year or the next year.

Steve:  So, does that mean that they are gonna codify a standard to delineate potentially Divisions 4, 5, and 6? Like if 4 a national league, 5 was regional leagues like the EPLWA and GCPL, something like that, and then 6 would be like a league within one city, and some of the classic leagues like the Cosmopolitan League in New York and the Bay State Soccer League in Boston, and the leagues like that, the NSL in Chicago, 6 being all the leagues with teams in one metro area? Is that kind of how you see that unfolding?

Joe:  Some leagues have been involved in a proposed plan, you know a plan that is being discussed on a continuous basis, you know its been sent forward to US Soccer, you know obviously US Soccer has to digest it, and see if this is something that can work. You know we’ve put some thought into it. This is something that the game needs to have. The amateur side, I’m not saying that the teams in the Cosmopolitan League or the EPLWA or the NSL in Chicago are not good enough to compete in a national league, because they probably are. They’re good enough to compete in those leagues, right? The only thing I’m saying is, is that, if you have teams that are making the investments to play in national leagues, and at the present time, there’s two national leagues right? It’s the NPSL and it’s the PDL, right? So the investment made by those teams, to compete, and to travel, and to have staff and have all sorts of processes in place, is greater than a local team that plays in a Sunday league that maybe gets together once a week. Now are there exceptions? Of course there are exceptions. 100% there’s exceptions, you know where, a club who play in local state leagues, I mean I just think about my area, in the Cosmopolitan League, you get a team like Pancyprians, who puts a lot of money into it. Are there exceptions around the country? Of course there are exceptions, but there needs to be a structure and a standard from the USASA of how the process works. That’s what I’m saying.

Thank you, Joe.


2015 Tour Archive

Archive 2

Archive 1

Supporters Section: Agents of Hale [NPSL]

It’s been too long.  Greetings to all.  Steve and I have been extremely active on other social media venues and busy behind the scenes, but our website has been dormant for too long.  We are planning to pump some life back into it.  This is hopefully the new beginning we’ve all been waiting for.  If you, or anyone you know, are interested in helping produce content for Non League America please do let us know! Read more

NLA Presents: How to Live Stream!

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Hi, I’m Nick Miko.  I don’t expect you to know who I am other than as the guy who live-streamed the Detroit City FC vs. Louisville City FC match on YouTube. I really wanted to stream it because I knew most people would not be able to attend the match.  It was a big deal for our team, it was the first time we made it out of the first round of the US Open Cup.

The feedback I received about the quality of the stream blew me away.  I had a really simple set up.  By picking the right tools I was able to make it look awesome.  After the match I decided to make a video to show people (other teams) how easy and affordable it was to do.

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Malden Catholic High School, Malden, MA
Kick Off: 6:00PM

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Best NPSL Scarf Submissions of 2016?

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Music City Miracle: An Interview With Chris Jones Of Nashville FC

Music City Miracle: An Interview With Chris Jones Of Nashville FC

Welcome back to American Pyramid’s #FromTheVault series ladies and gentlemen! I’m proud to be putting this interview out, as it bears the distinction of being the first interview ever done entirely over the phone! So if you happen to run a team and you’re reading this, there’s another avenue to get one of these interviews done for your team.

Chris Jones was gracious enough to take 30 minutes out of his day to do all this with me, and it strikes a great balance of length and detail, covering a wide variety of topics about the team, and also details what fans looking to start a team should do first. Check it out.

Tell me about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, what your role is with Nashville FC.
CJ: My name is Chris Jones, I’m from Nashville born and raised, one of the few these days, the city is growing so quickly. Went to Middle Tennessee State for marketing and work at a bank here in town, and I’m the president and founder of NFC. Started the club in May 2013. Been a long journey, but we’ve come a long way.

How would you describe Nashville, and the team, to an outsider?
CJ: The city is becoming very trendy, very entrepreneur friendly and loves supporting the little guy. We also have an average of 89 people moving to Nashville each day. They can’t build the city fast enough. Our club fits in perfectly with that. How we went about forming it was very unique and the city really embraced that. It fits with the blue collar vibe of the city.

What brought about the decision to make this a supporter owned team, and how does that work?
CJ: Saw a video of FC United of Manchester and that really set me on this path. It’s like the equivalent of a group of Yankees or Cowboys fans going off and starting their own minor league team because they are fed up with high ticket prices. That really resonated with me. We went from 100 to 500 founding members in short order once word started getting out about the club.

There are a lot of people looking to start supporter owned teams in cities that don’t have one. What kind of advice would you give them to make sure they do it right?
CJ: You need to do your homework on how you want to legally be set up. We went in clueless. ‘We want it to be supporter owned, here’s a Pay Pal, figure it out.’ Take the time to figure out the legality.

Next, be very transparent. Not everyone is completely honest, so it’s important to be honest with those you owe honesty to, your club members.

Really understand why you’re doing it. Don’t do it just because it’s cool, do it because there’s a why. Have a message that really resonates with the people you want to get involved.

For example, you can deliver a message a boring way. Saying something like ‘we want a Nashville team and supporters get a say in what happens.’ Or you can say ‘we believe fans are the driving voice and should have a say in what goes on in the club.’ They’re the lifeblood of any team.

What was your reaction to the Harrisburg to Nashville relocation rumors?
CJ: It’s was something of a punch to the stomach, a little disheartening. No one approached us or explained to us what they were doing or why. We felt we had warranted some type of approach because of what we had done both as a team and outside of soccer too. And a team in Nashville will probably need to be locally owned. If you’re from here, we’ll give you the shirt off our back. You’ll need to be local to get this team behind you. We’re growing, but still a small town at heart.

Where would you like to see NFC in 5 years?
CJ: I think in 5 years one way or the other, I’d like to say NFC will be in the professional ranks. Realistically in 5 years, it would be USL or NASL. MLS in 5 years would take a lot of pushing. There’s no reason why NFC couldn’t be in the pro ranks in 5 years.

We have members in 26 states and 5 different countries, so people know who we are. Regardless of league we are in good place.

What does your average attendance look like?
CJ: First game we were just shy of 2,000 people. It feels like more every time I look at the stands. I have a picture from a game where we had 1300 and it looks like 2500. We average right around 1500. We’d love more, but I remember thinking, we only need 500 per match in our first season to break even, so we’re doing very well.

What’s your favorite league and/or team to watch?
CJ: Chelsea is the team I fell in with because of my buddy when I started watching soccer in 2007. He was a Manchester United fan, so I wanted to be able to banter back and forth. I also keep an eye on Athletic Bilbao in Spain. They arent community owned but you have to be from the area to play for the team. It would be like Nashville FC going pro and saying ‘only talent from Nashville and middle Tennessee can play here’ and really competing.

What’s your favorite book, soccer related or otherwise?
CJ: Soccernomics.

Favorite player. One past, one present.
​CJ: Michael Essien. I feel like if I had played soccer, rather than football in college, that’s the kind of player I would have been. No surprise, my current favorite player is Branislov Ivanovic. A really physical player, like Poku, those are just my kind of guys. Maybe that’s just some of the American Football player in me.

Chattanooga FC is:
CJ: The ultimate measuring stick. I give credit where credit is do. They get the credit they deserve until someone knocks them off their perch. if and when we beat them it’s a party at the Jones’ house. But summing them up in a single phrase, it would be the ultimate measuring stick.

Why should people care about NFC, and the lower leagues in general?
CJ: I think if you’re a person that believes in challenging the status and quo and enjoys innovative and trailblazing, that’s the spirit behind Nashville FC. We have wins and losses, but the journey is pretty fun. It’s the adventurous spirit. If you have that spirit, Nashville is the club for you. It’s been a heck of a journey.

Chris, thanks again for taking the time to do this with me. If you are enjoying the content I’m putting out, I’d encourage you to click here to Follow me on Twitter, or here to Like the page on Facebook.  And if you’d like even more content coming your way on the regular, click here and sign up for the weekly newsletter, containing fun articles and videos, sometimes covering soccer, sometimes not. Make sure to spread the word. Share interviews, tell friends about the blog, those kind of things. I can’t accomplish my goal of maximum exposure for all levels of the American Soccer Pyramid without you. Until next time, Stay Loyal, Support Local.

Surf, Sand, Soccer: An Interview With Nick Surface Of Albion Pros SC

Surf, Sand, Soccer: An Interview With Nick Surface Of Albion Pros SC


It’s a new week, which can only mean one thing. #FromTheVault on Non League America is back!

Now, Nick Surface graciously agreed to do this interview with me back before Christmas, and a lot has happened with his team since then, including getting Delta Airlines (!) to be the teams official jersey sponsor, and drawing over 2,000 fans to their NPSL debut. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this season goes for them, and really enjoyed doing this interview. Check it out.

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