Local team owners announce plans to form new amateur soccer league in Michigan

Great Lakes Premier League coming to Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Local soccer club owners have announced plans to form a new amateur soccer league called the Great Lakes Premier League in the state of Michigan.

Owners say the GLPL will fall into the amateur tier of US Soccer, with the first season beginning this Spring. The amateur league will be part of the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) and qualify for amateur tournaments and the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournaments like leagues such as the NPSL do.

Last fall, teams like AFC Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids FC formed and applied to join the NPSL, which includes local teams Detroit City FC, Lansing United and Michigan Stars FC. Both clubs were denied entry into the quickly-growing NPSL because of the league's concern about financial regulations. These concerns stemmed from a 2014 incident, when Pensacola City FC in Florida dropped out of the league midseason.

AFC Ann Arbor owner Jamey Amrine and Grand Rapids FC owner Matt Roberts began discussions with other teams to gauge interest in forming a new league. Their work led to the new GLPL's approval.

The first meeting for this league was held Saturday in Grand Rapids. Owners met to confirm teams, work out bylaws and rules, set scheduling and move toward the league's 2015 launch. Teams verbally committed to the league at the meeting, but logistical issues like location and other details, temporarily postponed the proceedings.

Teams that will make up the GLPL during the 2015 season will be announced once further details are solidified. Owners hope to make a public announcement about the league within the next month.

Here are a few league rules that were confirmed at Saturday's meeting:

  • The maximum roster size for each team will be 30 players
  • The maximum game-day roster will consist of 18 players
  • Member teams will play home-and-home schedules against other teams
  • There will be no postseason championship in 2015. Straight table standings will be used to determine the inaugural champion

This is an exciting time for the growth of soccer in Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. The new league will give more players a chance to find a team and offer additional options for fans hoping to support a local soccer club.

The GLPL will begin its inaugural season on the same time frame as the other leagues in the Spring and Summer. The league has already started hiring coaches, signing players, establishing fields and securing uniforms and merchandise to prepare for the season.

AFCAA head coach Dave Hebestreit and assistant coach Nate Stovall have already taken some players from the team to participate in the Winstar Christmas Open tournament, losing to Force FC 2-0, tying the Waza Flo 1-1 and beating Iraqis 5-0.

The GLPL hopes to polish off league details in the near future in preparation for the inaugural season.

To meet some of the teams involved in the league, follow their official Twitter accounts:
Great Lakes Premier League: @greatlakesPL
AFC Ann Arbor: @AFCAnnArbor
Grand Rapids FC: @grandrapidsfc

You can also follow the latest news from the league on the official Facebook page.

Stay tuned to ClickOnDetroit.com/Soccer for more coverage surrounding soccer in Michigan -- including college, amateur and professional leagues. For the latest news, follow @Local4Sports and @KellyHaapala on Twitter.

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