Galt, CA (October 12, 2011)- Following its most competitive season to date, the Southeast Region of the National Premier Soccer League is expanding in 2012. The region is adding a Western Conference with its first teams in Texas and Arkansas, along with new franchises in Mississippi and South Carolina. “I think this expansion shows that the NPSL is an increasingly important part of the American soccer landscape,” said Andy Zorovich, commissioner of the Southeast Region.
New members from the Western Conference include Fort Smith United, Galveston Pirate SC, and the Rio Grande Valley Ocelots. The newcomers will join FC Tulsa, who competed in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play last year and played a Southeast Region schedule in 2010.
Galveston Pirate SC coach Brendan Keyes said, “It’s a great chance and opportunity for us, as a team to grow and progress and this national platform gives us the chance to shine.” Galveston has competed in both the Houston Football Association and Southern Premier Soccer League and feature captain RJ McNair, nephew of late NFL legend Steve McNair, and former Bahamian national team star Peron Major.
The Rio Grande Valley Ocelots are based in Brownsville, TX and recently won the Southern Premier Soccer League Summer Cup. “Today marks a new chapter in the transformation and progress of RGV Ocelots FC. Although we are two days shy of the first anniversary of the club’s founding, we are overjoyed with the notice of the NPSL’s acceptance of the RGV Ocelots FC franchise that will be competing for a National Championship in 2012,” said club owner Kayan Sitsanthaparn.
Fort Smith United is the first NPSL franchise to play in Arkansas. Led by owner Luis Alvarez, the club has already brought sponsors on board and is committed to providing the highest level of play in the state.
Myrtle Beach FC joins the region’s Eastern Conference from the Palmetto State of South Carolina. Trym Hogner, President of the club, said, “We’re excited and ready to bring professional quality soccer to the Grand Strand. Myrtle Beach’s residents and frequent visitors are the prefect combination to support an NPSL franchise for years to come, and we’re thrilled to compete in the same conference as the defending NPSL Champions in Jacksonville.”
The Mississippi Storm will be based in Biloxi and will draw from an emerging talent pool in the state of Mississippi. Owner Joel Gronau is excited to bring high level talent to the Gulf Coast.
The NPSL is still reviewing additional applications and talking with prospective new members in the Southeast region, as well as that other regions. More announcements on new members in all regions are expected throughout the month of October. The competition format of the NPSL Southeast Region for 2012 will be determined prior to the Annual General Meeting in January.