US Soccer filed its response on Oct. 11 seeking a pre-motion conference with the intent of the suit being dismissed altogether. The letter is the first significant insight for how the USSF seeks to counter the NASL’s claims of a conspiracy between USSF, MLS, and the USL to drive the NASL out of business.
While other leagues like Major League Soccer (Division I) and the United Soccer League (once Division III, now Division II) have flourished in recent years, NASL has declined.
The USSF claims that the NASL was granted waivers from Division II status from its inception with the hope of the league growing. “That has not happened,” the letter states. “In fact, while other leagues like Major League Soccer (Division I) and the United Soccer League (once Division III, now Division II) have flourished in recent years, NASL has declined. Despite multiple chances, NASL has not even come up with a plan for eventual compliance with the Division II standards” (emphasis in original).
Without a plan going forward, the USSF claims that the NASL continued to apply for 2018 Division II status. U.S. Soccer’s Board, however, said “enough is enough” and rejected this application. NASL was given the option to apply for Division III status within 30 days of the Division II announcement, but U.S. Soccer claims this option was “ignored.”
The USSF uses this evidence to turn the case from an anti-trust lawsuit to a case of sour grapes. “[This case] has to do with a flawed league that does not like USSF’s decision,” the letter states.
The letter continues by attempting to poke holes in the claim of “supposed conspiracy” alleged by the NASL, calling the claim “nonsensical.”
The case is expected to be resolved by the end of October. If granted, a pre-motion conference would be held sometime before the end of October deadline.
You can read the letter filed by USSF soccer in its entirety here.
The NASL did not respond to a request for comment.
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