Oakland Roots Bet on NISA over Founders Cup

On June 10th, Miami FC and Cal United Strikers, both former NPSL sides who had expressed desire to jump into the upcoming Founders Cup, declared their intentions of instead joining National Independent Soccer League (NISA). The news sent shockwaves through the soccer community, who had been stirred up and excited about the upcoming NPSL Pro League.

Up to this point, NISA has been more fluff than anything else. Mostly announcements of potential sites, without many details on clubs, playing sites, or even names of clubs. Even up to this point, aside from clubs that have defected from other leagues, we know nothing about the clubs who will play in the upcoming season, aside from the cities. Well, we can add one more fact to what we know, another club joining from another league.

Today, Oakland Roots announced their intention of skipping Founders Cup and instead joining NISA in the fall. According to the press release, “Roots leadership made a collective decision to focus on NISA as our preferred path forward. We have communicated our intent to the organizing body of the Founders Cup, as well as its constituent members.” The press release gave little details on the why the decision was made and when Protagonist Soccer reached out to the club, we received a non-commital answer to our questions. “Roots distributed a statement to media that can be found on our website. We appreciate the questions, but will decline further comment at this time.” That statement, by the way, can be found here.

Where this leaves the NPSL Founders Cup is hard to read. Losing three clubs to another league has to be a punch in the mouth for league leadership. We’ve reached out to that leadership and have yet to receive response. What we do know is that the West has lost a big name club who has made a fantastic splash into the American soccer market. Their branding, marketing, and overall professionalism has many in excited about their opening season. It’s a big get for NISA. NISA Commissioner John Prutch publicly stated that “We’re excited about Oakland Roots' intentions to join NISA and will work closely with them through the application process.’”

NISA has been fairly tight-lipped aside from sparse social media posts. Some of the owners are more outgoing with other members of the media, but Protagonist Soccer has made attempts to connect with the league. If the league responds, we will communicate that to our readers.

Now we wait. What will happen next? Will we see any of the other dominos fall or if the NPSL Founders Cup can right the ship? Is it Soccer Wars all over again?

- Dan Vaughn