Less than a year after the Great Lakes Premier League was created and launched by five clubs, including Franklin's Croatian Eagles, its members had to re-evaluate their ultimate goals for the amateur men's league.
Namely, they see a very bright future for the league, one that reaches well beyond the Great Lakes states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. As a result, the league has changed its name to the Premier League of America.
In a news release this week announcing the move, the league said the new moniker was needed "to better identify with the league's long-term goals."
The PLA also announced changes to its competitive structure for 2016. Teams will be split into two divisions, which are expected to be set up geographically, and the top teams from each division will vie for the PLA championship at a tournament in late July – the other league teams will play consolation matches at the event.
The league currently consists of seven teams. The Croatians, Chicago's RWB Adria and Oakland United from Rochester, Mich., are the remaining charter members, and they've been joined by four expansion teams: Glendale's Bavarian SC, the Madison 56ers, Ole SC from Grand Rapids, Mich., and Ohio's Toledo United.
However, more expansion teams will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the release, which noted that the 2015 season "led to incredible interest in the league from across the country, far surpassing the GLPL's original vision."
PLA members also decided to eliminate commissioner Keith Karbo's position "to ensure the league is managed by its clubs and not by a third party." Instead, the president of the PLA Board of Trustees will act as the de facto commissioner.