Professional Indoor Soccer: The World Indoor Soccer League
Think indoor soccer is just a game played by kids and weekend warriors in soccer domes? No way—even pros play indoor soccer.
The MLS, North America’s premier soccer league, has grown steadily since inception, but have you ever wondered why there isn’t a professional indoor soccer league? Well you might be surprised to learn that it does (or rather, did) exist! It was called the World Indoor Soccer League. But where did it come from? Where did it go? This week we’ll look back on the WISL and what happened to it.
Indoor soccer has been around for longer than you might have imagined. After all, in countries like Canada and the US, the weather doesn’t always cooperate for playing outside. Especially in the winter. A sport as popular and universally enjoyed as soccer isn’t easy to put down, so why not play inside?
The World Indoor Soccer League was actually born from the failure of a predecessor, the Continental Indoor Soccer League. When the CISL flopped, the World Indoor Soccer League was born from its ashes. Four CISL teams created a new league called the Premier Soccer Alliance.
There were high hopes for this new league and a merger was in the works between the Premier Soccer Alliance and another league from England. This was to create a European division and North American division. The league changed its name to the World Indoor Soccer League to reflect this merger.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions, the merger never actually happened.
A soccer league that spanned the globe would have been an amazing thing. But unfortunately, it was never meant to be.
Despite the setback, the WISL kept running and grew to nine teams. Eight based out of US cities, and one team from Mexico.
The league existed from 1998 and continued for four seasons, but because of the failure to grow the league and merge it with a European division, the league folded in 2001. Several of the teams decided to abandon ship to a newly organized indoor soccer league, the Major Indoor Soccer League. The MISL itself would operate from 2001 to 2008, when all the teams went on to several other newer indoor leagues.
It’s obvious that professional indoor soccer has had a bit of a rocky start. In North America alone, over a dozen different leagues came and went since the sport’s inception.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a popular sport though. The fact that players, teams, and facilities kept creating new leagues showed die-hard support for the game. Presently there are three active leagues: Major Arena Soccer League, Premier Arena Soccer League, and the Western Indoor Soccer League.
We’ve seen first-hand just how popular of a sport indoor soccer has become in North America. Every year we create more soccer domes across Canada and the US. If you’d like to learn more about indoor soccer and what it takes to have a dome for your team or community, get in touch with us today!