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By ESPN Staff

Second-tier soccer league dubs itself the NASL

Pele may not be suiting up, but the NASL is making a comeback.

The second division men's professional soccer league is scheduled to begin play this spring. It announced its name Monday, and it should be familiar to soccer fans in the United States and Canada: the North American Soccer League.

The original NASL lasted from 1968-84 and briefly made a splash with the likes of Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Johan Cruyff.

The new NASL has nine teams: Carolina RailHawks, Atlanta Silverbacks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis Soccer United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

The league has applied to the U.S. Soccer Federation for sanctioning and is looking for a commissioner.

"By becoming the NASL, we are paying respect to the players, coaches and leaders who were pioneers for men's professional soccer in North America, many of whom remain involved and committed to the growth of our game in various capacities throughout the U.S. and Canada," said Selby Wellman, principal owner of the RailHawks. "For that, we honor and thank them with a new era for the NASL."

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