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Soccer league cancels 2018 season, Jacksonville Armada to play in different league

The Armada's league may not be playing in 2018, but Jacksonville's soccer team will hit the pitch this spring.
<p>The Armada are undefeated at home so far this season. Photo from the team's first home game of hte season.  PHOTO: Todd Drexler, Armada FC</p>

The North American Soccer League will not have a 2018 season but the future is somewhat brighter locally for the Jacksonville Armada.

The NASL announced Tuesday that they were canceling the 2018 season due to the league losing sanctioning from the United States Soccer Federation and their failure to win an injunction in court to force the USSF to sanction the league.

The NASL has two lawsuits, one against the USSF over sanctioning as a Division Two league (highest level of minor league soccer in the U.S.) and a second suit accusing members of the USSF board of breach of fiduciary responsibility.

The NASL had previously announced that they would delay the start of their 2018 season to August.

Locally, the Jacksonville Armada has been planning to play in the lower level National Premiere Soccer League's Sunshine Conference. That season starts in April. The team has already played in three preseason games in February, including Monday night's victory over Flagler College in St. Augustine.

Armada owner Robert Palmer has formed a task force to explore starting a new league that would likely work outside of sanctioning from the USSF.

The Armada will be joined by fellow NASL member Miami FC in the NPSL's Sunshine Conference, while the New York Cosmos will also play in the NPSL.

Their first NPSL game is set for April 29 at Hodges Stadium against Miami.

The NASL's commissioner Rishi Segal issued the following statement about Tuesday's announcement.

“The focus of the antitrust suit to date has been obtaining a preliminary injunction to save the 2018 Season. Unfortunately, with USSF’s decision and the loss of the preliminary injunction, playing the 2018 Season is no longer a possibility. The focus of the antitrust suit now shifts to securing the long-term advancement of soccer in this country, not only for the NASL, but for all soccer fans, clubs, and communities impacted by the USSF’s restrictions on competition. Also, the NASL is prosecuting a breach of fiduciary duty action against certain USSF Board members for conflicts of interest and derelictions of duty which have harmed the NASL and countless other constituents in U.S. Soccer. The NASL and its clubs will look at all avenues to return to the field for the 2019 Season.”

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