Editors Note: As the Fall 2019 season begins, US Club Soccer will be highlighting each NPL member league with a Q&A of their league administrators and directors. The Gulf States Premier League conversation is with administrator Michael Ritch.
Question: Looking back at Gulf States Premier League’s time in the NPL over the past eight years, what are the biggest changes that you've noticed in the evolution of the NPL?
Michael Ritch: I feel we are competing better on the national stage. We've had two NPL Finals finalists and one NPL Finals champion come out of GSPL, but overall, the teams we send to the national events seem to be doing much better than when GSPL was initially created.
Question: What do you want your members to know about the Gulf States Premier League this season?
Ritch: Our league is club friendly, and our member clubs work hard to ensure the betterment of the entire league and all the teams that make it up.
Question: The NPL is like a family network. What do you want other NPLs to know about your league?
Ritch: We've added a showcase event in Foley, Alabama. It's set for December 5-6, and we welcome other NPL teams to join us. They can contact me here for further details, if they'd like to join the fun.
Question: Are you making any adjustments this season compared to previous seasons?
Ritch: A few minor details, but nothing major.
Question: With one of your member clubs bringing home last year’s 14-U Girls NPL Finals championship, how has LA Fire Junior’s championship impacted your league?
Ritch: It just lets everyone know that our teams can get there and do well. It's always good to get the first, and it just makes all the other teams work that much harder to earn the bid in hopes of experiencing it for themselves. We are proud of the talent that comes from our region. We don't always get the chance to showcase ourselves, so any team that can bring home the championship helps set the stage for all the rest.
A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer fosters the growth and development of soccer clubs in order to create the best possible environment for players of all ages.
Anchored by Players First and its five pillars of Club Development, Coaching Development, Player Development, Parent Engagement & Education and Player Health & Safety, US Club Soccer offers registration, league- and cup-based competition platforms, player identification and a variety of other programming, resources and services.
US Club Soccer is sponsored by Nike and supported by LaLiga through a technical partnership.