The aggressive expansion of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) over the past couple years has created opportunities around the country for true derby matches and regional cup competitions. A potential evolving partnership with the North American Soccer League (NASL) has already seen two reserves sides join the NPSL. Atlanta Silverbacks and Minnesota United FC have recently been announced as competitors for the 2014 season.
Minnesota United FC Reserves have declared they will compete at the new club training grounds at Bielenberg Sports Complex in Woodbury. With existing NPSL clubs in Brooklyn Park (Minnesota TwinStars FC) and Eau Claire Aris FC just across the state border, there are now three clubs within 104 miles (see map) of each other.
The three Twin Cities-area clubs are part of the NPSL Central Conference, which includes Madison 56ers SC, Milwaukee Bavarian SC, Quad City Eagles FC and expansion-side FC Bordo St. Louis. It is one of many regional conferences around a four-region national league. Each regular season is followed by region playoffs and a national championship between four region champions. In 2013, RVA Football Club were the national champion capping an undefeated 10-2-0 season.
A Minnesota TwinStars FC-Minnesota United FC Reserves matchup creates a Twin Cities Derby, with the west metro TwinStars FC presently calling the Prairie Seeds Academy pitch home. Woodbury-based United FC Reserves will also have a short 79-mile distance to travel as Eau Claire Aris FC compete at Bollinger Fields on the campus of UW-Eau Claire.
This “triangle” of clubs could possible create an opportunity for a cup competition, similar to the Cascadia Cup between Portland, Seattle and Vancouver of MLS. Currently there is one cup-style competition, the Rust Belt Derby, between NPSL clubs AFC Cleveland, Detroit City FC and FC Buffalo.
My idea? I-94 Cup With all three teams located along the I-94 highway this competition could help build a rivalry, potential media and fan interest.
Have an idea for the competition name? Post it in the comments section here or go to the NPSL Google+ Page to discuss!
I-94 NPSL clubs – View Larger Map