Surveying the Soccer Scene: American Professional Indoor Soccer Leagues

As tempestuous as minor league outdoor professional soccer has been over the years, that turmoil looks tame in comparison to the recent history of the professional indoor game.

At the current time there are two indoor soccer leagues that refer to themselves as “professional.”  The more prominent of the two is the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), which was restructured and came under the auspices of the United Soccer Leagues in May of 2011.  Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) boasts affiliation with the Federación Internacional de Futbol Rapido (FIFRA), for what that’s worth, and is a professionalization of the Premier Arena Soccer League.

During the summer of 2010, United Soccer Leagues (USL) announced intentions to create an indoor league. The proposed league, named I-League, failed to find prospective franchises beyond Rochester, Syracuse, and Norfolk. In May 2011, USL and MISL announced a merger that combined clubs and operations into one league under the USL umbrella for the 2011-12 season.

PASL was formed in 2008 as a professional offshoot of a national amateur indoor league. The league has more clubs, draws fewer spectators, and generally employs less skilled or experienced players than MISL. PASL’s organization still features the amateur league and thus the potential to operate an increasingly flexible two-tiered system. Continue reading