What's Going to Happen to NASL Goalkeepers?

With the New York Cosmos announcing that they would cease operations, the NASL is teetering on the edge of closing up shop themselves. The uncertainty leaves the future for NASL goalkeepers to anyone's guess right now. A 2017 NASL season isn't completely out of the picture but teams are reportedly eyeing a switch to USL. While the NASL is a lower division under MLS, there are still a few goalkeepers we should keep an eye on.

 

Jimmy Maurer (29) - New York Cosmos

 Photo belongs to Brad Penne

Photo belongs to Brad Penne

For anyone who has watched Maurer's play, he's clearly the most complete goalkeeper in the league. He may not be the quickest or the strongest, but he's going to limit mistakes in the back and keep his team in games. Compared to the current MLS crop, he could very well not only earn himself a contract in the senior league but perhaps a starting spot. Assuming Maurer doesn't explore options overseas, NASL will have something to boast about if he signs with MLS.

 

Sammy Ndjock (26) - Minnesota United

  Photo belongs to Brian Peterson

Photo belongs to Brian Peterson

Probably the goalkeeper with the most guaranteed spot of landing somewhere next year. MLS's latest expansion team, Minnesota United, could carry him over from the jump but even if they don't, Ndjock's reflexes alone should peak someone's interest. Lots of fans want to believe their team's goalkeeper has quick reactions but Ndjock is in North America's top five quickest paws. Unfortunately Ndjock's biggest Achilles' heel is consistency. One moment he will wow you with an unbelievable save and the next he'll end up on ESPN's Not Top Ten Plays of the Week.  

 

Jon Busch (40) - Indy Eleven

The last American goalkeeper to play into their 40's was Brad Friedel. So needless to say, Busch is in good company. Teams aren't always going to want to give a starting spot to someone late in their career but every team wants a veteran to steward their young goalkeeper. Busch is still wanting to play next year but Indy Eleven's plans are unclear at this moment. With Indy Eleven being one of the more stable teams in NASL, he may just stay put in Indiana.

 

Brian Sylvestre (24) - North Carolina FC

 Photo belongs to Paul Rudderow

Photo belongs to Paul Rudderow

Sylvestre has already spent time in MLS, playing for the Philadelphia Union in 2015 after being released by the Whitecaps back in 2012. So it's not a shock to think Sylvestre will most likely end up back in the league one way or another. NCFC has made their intentions known they'd like to get to MLS down the line. They haven't officially left the NASL but it's a strong possibility they'll slide to USL for a few years with a good chunk of their roster.

 

Trevor Spangenberg (25) - Puerto Rico FC

Probably overlooked by even fans inside the league, Spangenberg finished as Puerto Rico's starting goalkeeper by the end of the season, allowing just fourteen goals in twelve games. Spangenberg is at a great point in his career that if an MLS team needs a starter, he's had the game time to step in without jitters but if a team wants to loan him to USL, they can still get a return from him there as well. As a previous backup for Chivas and the New England Revolution, he could see a return to MLS sooner than later.

 

Matt Van Oekel (30) - FC Edmonton

 Photo belongs to Codie McLachlan

Photo belongs to Codie McLachlan

Van Oekel was awarded NASL's Golden Glove in 2016 with a 0.55 GAA. While that will give him a foot in the door, the question becomes if he'll be content with taking a backup spot somewhere in MLS. There have been some rumors of Canada starting their own league, albeit unlikely for 2017. If Van Oekel is wanting to start somewhere, Scandinavia may be his best shot.

 

Matt Pickens (34) - Tampa Bay Rowdies

 Photo belongs to  Matt May

Photo belongs to Matt May

Beloved in Colorado for his time with the Rapids, Pickens is in a similar boat as Busch. Teams will be looking for that added experience and he will be cheaper than bringing in a foreigner. Tampa Bay may slide to USL so Pickens might not have to pack up but if a team wants to open the starting job up, Pickens could relocate to throw his name in the ring.