July 27, 2020 - Knowing where we came from helps us shape we are going to go. From the beginning more than 10 years ago we set out to do what was right, give people chances they wouldn’t otherwise get, and support our community every step we could. This has been an integral part of our grow club and will continue to be as we continue to strive to bring professional soccer to the state of Maryland.
With that in mind, we have a message for our friends, family, fans, and partners: Maryland Bobcats FC have applied to the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA).
The Maryland Bobcats Football Club announced today that the club has submitted their application to join the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA). NISA is a US professional soccer league and USSF Pro League Member; this move will make Maryland Bobcats FC the only men’s professional outdoor soccer team in the state. The club is tentatively slated to play home games at Maureen Hendricks Field at the SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland.
"The Maryland Bobcats are a quality organization, headed by a fantastic ownership group. I look forward to working with them through the approval process and welcoming them to the NISA family" said John Prutch, Commissioner of NISA.
The goal of Maryland Bobcats FC has always been to elevate soccer in the local community and the state of Maryland while working to bring men’s professional outdoor soccer to the state. “We at Maryland Bobcats FC are grateful for the opportunity we have been given,” Maryland Bobcats FC President Jide Saba said. “This organization didn’t start today. It has been a plan for the past 10 years to bring professional soccer to Maryland. To finally be able to give the people of Maryland a team they can actually call their own is fantastic. We are blessed to be able to also give the children of this great state a path to professional soccer. We know we have a lot of work to do, but we are ready to get down to it and get the community involved.”
In late 2018, the Bobcats announced their intentions to start play in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL), a national amateur league. A successful spring 2019 season earned the club a spot in the UPSL National Quarterfinals, which ended with a loss to the eventual champion. After an undefeated fall 2019 season, in January 2020 the Bobcats travelled to Miami, FL, to participate in the UPSL National Final Four. After two comeback wins in two days, Maryland Bobcats FC were crowned the UPSL National Champions.
"The Bobcats are the reigning National Champions of the UPSL, now it's time to test themselves at the professional level. I've really enjoyed working with ownership and management in this process and look forward to them taking the pitch as part of NISA." said Joshua Prutch, Executive VP of Expansion. "Their first challenge is the upcoming NISA Independent Cup against FC Baltimore Christos, New Amsterdam FC and New York Cosmos, some tough competition...may the best club win."
In late 2019, the Bobcats also were accepted into the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), and had plans to kick off in summer 2020, but, due to COVID, the season was cancelled.
Maryland Bobcats FC are excited to be joining NISA and the fantastic clubs that have already made the league their home. As President Saba stated, “NISA is the league for us, and its vision aligns with our club’s vision and values. Our path from starting as a Sunday league team to where we are now is unbelievable.”
It has been a long journey to get to today’s announcement, and the Bobcats have had many partners along the way that helped make the club’s jump to professional soccer possible. “We thank our sponsors and the leadership team of Maryland Bobcats FC for their hard work and dedication to this project. We are grateful that a group of people chose to believe in this project even when others didn’t. Most said we wouldn’t last long simply because of our race. Congratulations to the Bobcats family, and to the citizens of the state of Maryland for finally having a professional soccer team they can call their own. We move, and are just getting started!” club President Saba declared.
NISA was founded in June 2017 and received provisional professional sanctioning from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) in early 2019. Then in February of 2020, NISA became a full member of the Pro League Council of US Soccer.
Maryland Bobcats FC will continue to compete in the UPSL until kicking off in NISA, and then will field a Reserve Team in the UPSL while a First Team plays in NISA. These teams, plus the newly launched youth club, realizes the Bobcats’ goal to provide Maryland with a European- and South American–style club setup, with a direct path to professional soccer for all its youth players.
Any questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fast Facts about NISA:
· Founded in 2017
· League kicked off August 2019
· NISA clubs include New York Cosmos, New Amsterdam FC, California United Strikers FC, Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, Oakland Roots, Michigan Stars, Los Angeles Force and others
· NISA is owned and governed by its member clubs
For more information about NISA, visit www.nisasoccer.com.
Player by player, supporter by supporter, community member by community member, we will make Maryland a better place. This is for Maryland, and for all.