US Club Soccer established the National Premier Leagues (NPL) in 2011 as a platform to provide the highest level of competition in given geographical areas. Nine leagues kicked off play in September 2011 as part of the NPL’s inaugural season. The season came to a close in July at the 2012 NPL Champions Cup, held in Waukegan, Ill., featuring league champions from across the country. Five teams from three leagues were crowned NPL national champions.
The NPL continued to expand entering its second season of competition, featuring 17 leagues all across the United States at the start of the 2012-13 season.
Now, the NPL has grown to host its inaugural NPL Showcase in March 2014 and enters its third year having an NPL Finals -- formerly known as the NPL Champions Cup.
The New England Premiership (NEP) is a new Club-based league for clubs throughout New England focused on player development. Participation is limited to clubs with a demonstrated commitment to player development such as minimum licenses for coaches, minimum standards for facilities and a dedicated Director Of Coaching with a minimum of a USSF B license.
The NEP has been granted approval from Mass Youth Soccer to act as a State Cup qualifying league for Massachusetts and is waiting on similar approval from Soccer Rhode Island, Soccer Maine and New Hampshire Soccer Association.
The NEP will be a member run entity with each participating club assigned a seat at the Board of Directors. The Board plans to establish a 3-pronged quality control system; self analysis, peer review and “third party” review. The league will provide surveys at the end of each season so clubs can evaluate themselves and their peers. The league will also contract a neutral “third party” to attend game and training days to report on standards being maintained.
The NEP will create a superior player development environment by ensuring the appropriate numbers-a-side per age group - U10s will be 6v6, U-11’s and U12’s will be 8v8, U13’s and U14’s will be 11v11. The League will also work to acquire the highest quality of referees (the NEP is also looking to add a referee mentoring program) and establishing superior dialogue between club officials and referees to develop this side of the game.
“We are delighted to enter our teams in the New England Premiership,” said League Treasurer and Seacoast United Girls Technical Director, Matt Sprague. “The NEP was formed to establish a game day environment that complements the development that is happening at the club level.”
The official launch of the NEP took place on Saturday August 22nd, at Citizens Bank Fields, Lancaster. The season will run until Saturday 24th October when a closing festival will take place at Epping, NH, the home of Seacoast United.