The North American Soccer League (NASL) has commissioned an online survey to select markets and supporter groups seeking their input regarding possible changes to the league’s postseason format and regular season calendar.
The unpublicized survey, forwarded to Triangle Offense
by a person close to a supporters group of a NASL team, is being disseminated via SurveyGizmo, an online survey software program.
At the outset of the survey, the league says, “As we consider making significant changes to our competition structure, we would like to request your input and feedback as it relates to postseason play and the NASL calendar.”
First, the NASL states “it is considering a proposal” to alter the season-ending Soccer Bowl championship into a four-team, single-elimination competition that would commence at the end of the regular season.
“The participants would be the respective Spring and Fall season champions,” the survey reads, “and the teams that boast the next two best overall combined (both seasons) records.”
The survey also asks for suggestions for a suitable title for this overall league champion.
This possible alteration dovetails with comments from NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson during his press conference following last November’s Soccer Bowl in Atlanta. Asked whether league expansion might pave the way for an eventual playoff system, Peterson responded that while he remained opposed to full-blown “playoffs,” he could envision the possibility of a limited postseason “tournament.”
There is no indication in the survey that any future change would affect the 2014 Soccer Bowl postseason format.
The survey also solicits fan opinion on whether the NASL should follow the established summer-based U.S. soccer schedule or the traditional, winter-centric European model. However, the survey does not contend that there is any standing proposal regarding shifting the league’s regular season calendar.
When reached for a response, a league official confirmed the survey's existence. This morning, when asked about the document, a representative of a supporters group associated with the Carolina RailHawks confirmed that it had also received it.
In a statement, Jarrett Campbell, the founder of the group, Triangle Soccer Fanatics, declined to comment on its specifics.
"The NASL has been great about reaching out to supporters to gather our opinions on the league," Campbell wrote.
"In the past, members of Triangle Soccer Fanatics[...] have participated in a number of focus groups, surveys, supporters' summits and one-on-one dialogues with the league front office. We really appreciate the opportunity to have our voices heard, but would prefer not to comment on the specific contents of any individual focus group or survey conducted by the NASL."
Indeed, this effort at eliciting fan input on such key issues stands in positive contrast to the cloistered posture adopted by the league prior to other recent format changes, including the split regular season instituted in 2013 and the truncated spring season schedule for 2014.
Click below to view a .pdf of the NASL survey: