Last week New York State West Youth Soccer Association (NYSWYSA) announced its intent to form a new team-based soccer league in 2021. In doing so, NYSWYSA’s intent is to respond to what appears to be a market-driven, open opportunity for teams that desire to do so, to participate in a higher level of competition in a complimentary fashion to the existing Thruway League. The new league will be a Team-based League, open to teams who finish in 1st or 2nd place within the top division of their District League, or finished in the top 4 of the NYSWYSA State Cup.
The information below explains how NYSWYSA assessed the opportunity to form the new league. The Powerpoint presentation link included in this announcement further explains the rationale for the new league.
NYSWYSA referenced the following publicly available information to assess whether there was market-driven potential to form a league.
- By design structurally, the Thruway League is a Club Member-based league.
- Nationally within youth soccer, there is a trend to create parallel, complimentary Club Member-based leagues and Team-based leagues, each of which offers different paths for teams to compete depending on individual team’s needs and/or their club’s organizational structure.
- During the past few years numerous NYSWYSA district league teams who did not qualify for the Thruway League have expressed interest in the concept of a state-wide Team-based league.
- Since 2016, the number of Thruway League accepted teams for league play has reduced from 216 teams (in 2016) to 142 teams (in 2019), a reduction of 74 teams. This created a market potential of 74 teams who expressed interest to play in a league beyond their District League level, but did not have a western NY alternative to the Thruway League.
In consideration of forming a Team-based League, NYSWYSA desired to structure it with the intent to make it complimentary to the Thruway League in order to minimize potential impact to the Thruway League. Successful implementation of this concept provides a parallel opportunity for teams and clubs depending on each of their unique needs. To minimize conflict, invitees to the NYSWYSA league exclude any Thruway League member clubs’ teams. NYSWYSA has invited the 2019 top-2 finishers from the various District Leagues, only 15 of which were accepted into the Thruway League for the 2020 season, thus supporting NYSWYSA’s intent to minimize impact to the Thruway League.
NYSWYSA hopes the formation of the new league provides additional opportunity for teams who have previously expressed the desire to advance from their District Leagues to a higher level of competition within Western New York.
Curtis R. Regruit
New York State West Youth Soccer Association