Not only has there been so many doubters to the League's success, there was practically no help from the USSF (United States Soccer Federation) in paving a way for the success of minor league pro Soccer.
It took the NASL to force the Federation's hand to provide guidelines and a needs analysis map for how minor league Soccer should look going forward.
Now, the NASL is handling its affairs in a modest, but bold fashion. It is a few seasons into their renaissance and it is being sought by cities across the U.S. and Canada for inclusion.
Their latest coup include Oklahoma City and Jacksonville. Indianapolis, Ottawa and Virginia have also made their commitments. Puerto Rico is reorganizing and coming back to the League, as well.
With the New York Cosmos playing their first game this week, the NASL is really starting to make a bigger imprint on professional sports in the U.S. again.
See... NASL Grabs Biggest Fish and Saves Itself.
In the next few seasons, the League is expected to surpass 15 teams.
People love Soccer and love to sink money into it. But, in the past, minor league Soccer was a wasteland for investments. Now, business people see more possibility in reaping profits if done with a business plan focused on community and 6-12,000 seat stadiums.
Schedules in Division II could reach 30 games soon, which means 15 home games or 15 opportunities for sellouts.
So, what is the niche, exactly?
It's the ability to gauge the enthusiasm from the support of fans in medium to large metro areas and determine that there is a market ready and willing. Then, compare and contrast everything involved with a budget that includes travel and employee costs along with the benefits coming from sponsors and those fans.
In a way, everything has worked out for the NASL and how it fits into the heritage of U.S. pro sports.
There was a time NASL was building to something very special in the 1970's. But, it climaxed and dissipated by the early 1980's.
As it is being branded again, it looks to be gaining more solid ground financially and it is again something very special and unique for Soccer lovers.