FORT WORTH _ The NPSL Lone Star Conference launched this week with a group of five Texas clubs and one Louisiana side.
Dutch Lions FC, Fort Worth Vaqueros, Houston Regals, Midland/Odessa FC, Shreveport Rafters FC and Tyler FC comprise the newly formed National Premier Soccer League Conference.
The former South Central Conference expanded all three of the past seasons and would have featured a cumbersome 12 teams across six states. Therefore, the former conference was spilt in half to form the Lone Star Conference and the Heartland Conference.
“We are looking forward to playing our fourth NPSL season in the new Lone Star Conference,” Vaqueros owner Michael Hitchcock said. “It’s been great for the Vaqueros to be a part of the impressive growth of the beautiful game throughout the South Central region. We are looking forward to play great new teams in Midland and Tyler.”
All six clubs will face each other once at home and away plus an additional two matches to round out the 12-match Lone Star Conference schedule.
The top four teams will compete for the conference title. The No. 1 seed will face the No. 4 seed while the second and third seeds play on July 12. The two winners face off in the Lone Star Conference Final on July 15.
The Lone Star Conference champion will advance to face the Heartland Conference Champion in the regional semifinals according to Vaqueros general manager Tobias Xavier Lopez.
“Personally, I grew up playing on the dusty West Texas fields of Midland/Odessa so the addition of that already well established brand provides an additional level of intrigue to the season for me,” Lopez said. “No matter what team emerges from the Lone Star Conference, we know they will be in for a stiff challenge from the Heartland Conference having seen clubs like Tulsa, Joplin and Wichita up close the past few seasons.”
In addition, Shreveport Rafters F.C. co-owner Will Broyles said, “The awesome growth of our league is allowing us to focus on our regional play a little closer to home, but allowing a more competitive atmosphere across the center of the country as a whole. This move is great for all of our teams as it provides a better balance for our conference play. The fans will have an easier time tracking our gains in the standings and that translates into a better experience for our newest soccer fans.”
The 2017 Lone Star Conference schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.