Sports | Impact season saved

The Montreal Impact’s 2010 season has been rescued after an agreement was reached between the United Soccer League (USL) and the newly-formed North American Soccer League (NASL). The deal was brokered by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

The NASL was formed by USL breakaway teams Montreal, Rochester, and Vancouver after disputes over team management.

The new league will be managed by the USSF, and will represent the second tier of the North American soccer pyramid, placing the Impact in a league just below the first tier Major League Soccer.

“This agreement allows us to continue to develop the professional game in many important markets ar–ound the country, while at the same time working towards the long-term stability of Division 2 professional soccer,” said USSF president Sunil Gulati in a January 7 press release.

The Impact will be part of the NASL division of the league, comprising teams from Baltimore, Raleigh/Durham, Miami, St. Louis, and Vancouver.

Montreal defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps last year to win the former USL Division 1, and have drawn attention because of their dedicated fans and unique status as a non-profit organization – owned by the government of Quebec, Hydro-Québec, and Saputo.

Impact president Joey Saputo characterized the new agreement as “very positive for the future of soccer in North America.” The league, which is expected to announce its schedule in the coming days, will include clubs from three countries: the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.