Ehtar Belleville Football Club Joins the NPSL


The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), the only league designated by USASA as a Tier 1 national league, is proud to announce that Ehtar Belleville Football Club (Belleville, IL) has joined the league as an expansion team.  The club will begin play in 2023.


“The NPSL is excited to welcome Belleville, Illinois to the NPSL’s Midwest Region,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “A key component of our expansion strategy is focused on this area of the country, and Belleville bridges the gap between St. Louis, Iowa, and north into Chicago.  The geographical position of the team combined with an experienced and sophisticated management team is a recipe for success.” 


The club will be led by President Brian Thomas, Secretary Ian Thurlow, Head Coach Andrew Crawford, and Board Member Patrick Hulliung.


Thomas is a native of Southern Illinois who attended the University of Kansas on a football scholarship and continued his education at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.  He also has life experience as a former head chef and restaurateur who has cooked for a former U.S. President and several governors. 


“We will energize the St. Louis Metro-East fan base and work with Club Atletico Saint Louis to make the St. Louis area a premier NPSL market,” Thomas said.


Thurlow was born in New Hampshire and has had the fortune of playing soccer all around the world as a military dependent.  He has actively played soccer for 40+ years and currently serves as owner and COO of World Class Lighting.  


“We will bring together the extensive history of Belleville area’s soccer society around a family-centric, community project,” Thurlow said. “We will be a gracious host to all visiting teams and fans.”


Crawford is the former COO of Gateway Rush Soccer Club, former Director of Coaching at Metro East Legacy, and former assistant coach for McKendree University women’s soccer program.  


Hulliung is the owner of World Class Gymnastics and several other local businesses.  He works with thousands of young athletes every year and is the creator of the nationally recognized Gateway Challenge Gymnastics Meet.  


Home matches will be played at The Valley of the Kings at the Southern Illinois Justice & Workforce Development Campus.  Multiple gymnasiums and locker rooms can be found on the campus along with a fitness center and an indoor training facility.


Supporters can visit or follow the club on Facebook (@ehtarfc), Instagram (@ehtarfc), and Twitter (@ehtarfc).

“We are pleased that Ehtar Belleville FC has joined the NPSL and that the league will have a presence in Southern Illinois,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case said.  “Ehtar Belleville FC brings a diverse group of businessmen who are excited to build their team and brand through the NPSL platform.  We are confident they will be successful both on and off the field.”

About the NPSL

The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is one of the largest established men’s soccer leagues in the United States with over 90 teams competing across the country. The NPSL is a successor to the Men’s Premier Soccer League (MPSL), which was formed in 2002. The NPSL is a member of the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) and is thereby affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The NPSL’s cooperative and turnkey ownership platform has led to its explosive growth, countless player development opportunities, and commitment to grow the game in the United States.

On November 18, 2022, the NPSL was designated as Tier 1, the top tier of soccer within the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). 


We compete for 90 minutes on the field, we are business partners...always. We all work together to grow the game, build the NPSL, and develop our respective clubs.



To grow the sport of soccer in the United States of America -- by providing our members with a sustainable business model and professionally managed soccer platform, and by serving as an inspiration to players and soccer fans in our members' communities.



To be the foundation of the U.S. Soccer development pyramid with over 100 profitable teams in over 100 communities; in turn, doing our part to help the United States become a soccer nation and win a World Cup.

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