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USL Sold to NuRock Holdings LLC – Sale Could Throw League Owners into Turmoil

2009 August 27
by Brian Quarstad

NUROCK SOCCER HOLDINGS LLC ANNOUNCES PURCHASE OF UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES FROM NIKE, INC.

uslUSL announced Thursday afternoon, NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC has purchased the USL from Umbro/Nike.

Kartik Krishnaiyer of Major League Soccer and Inside Minnesota Soccer are currently working on the story. We are aware that the sale to NuRock is a shock to many, including some owners in the league. It’s widely known that Traffic FC, along with a current USL-1 owners’ group made a bid for the league but did not win that bid. However, that same owners’ group, led by Aaron Davidson of Miami FC and Selby Wellman, owner of the Carolina RailHawks, has been unhappy with Marcos and Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Tim Holt. We had been informed by multiple ownership sources that Davidson and Wellman were working with another group who were in the due diligence stage after winning the bid from Nike. The other group who had won the bid was neither NuRock or Traffic.

The comments in the press release from Francisco Marcos, founder and president of United Soccer Leagues, are telling. The comments from Marcos could mean that the newly announced owners, NuRock, have a current relationship with USL executives Holt and Marcos. If this is true, the league owners will have some very difficult decisions to make this winter–unless of course they are able to form a relationship with NuRock executives Rob Hoskins and Alec Papadakis. The ownership group has been pushing for more visibility and aggressive marketing of USL.

Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald reports that Miami FC could shut its doors because of this move and also reports that the Minnesota Thunder and Carolina RailHawks were believed to be part of Traffic Sports’ bid.

Another telling sign of a possible relationship between NuRock and USL executives can be gathered from Papadakis’ statement in the press release:

“Together with USL Management, we are excited about the opportunity to grow the size and visibility of USL, and to help develop and train the future generations of soccer athletes in the United States,” said Alec Papadakis, CEO of NuRock Soccer Holdings.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM USL

Atlanta, Georgia (Aug 27th, 2009) – NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC (“NuRock Soccer Holdings”) today announced that it has acquired United Soccer Leagues (“USL”) from NIKE.

NuRock Soccer Holdings, based in Atlanta, is led by Rob Hoskins and Alec Papadakis. NuRock Soccer Holdings is currently a USL franchisee with a Premier Development League operation in Atlanta and rights to acquire two USL First Division teams in Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama marketplaces, respectively.

Rob Hoskins, the Chairman of NuRock Soccer Holdings, is one of the country’s most respected and largest real estate developers in residential housing, and brings his valuable management and branding experience to the soccer industry. Alec Papadakis, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of NuRock Soccer Holdings, is a franchise attorney with domestic and international expansion experience. As a player in the North American Soccer League for the Atlanta Chiefs and the Boston Minutemen, Papadakis has had a long, storied soccer career in the United States at the collegiate and professional level, with numerous accolades.

“We are delighted to close this transaction with Nike and begin a partnership with Nike’s leading football brands which will sponsor and support USL, and all of its leagues, for many years to come. Together with USL Management, we are excited about the opportunity to grow the size and visibility of USL, and to help develop and train the future generations of soccer athletes in the United States”, said Alec Papadakis, CEO of NuRock Soccer Holdings.

Rob Hoskins, Chairman of NuRock Soccer Holdings, commented, “Our vision for USL is to become the most competitive and profitable pyramid of soccer leagues in North America, while providing affordable family entertainment, and serving as the inspirational destination for professional and amateur youth soccer players in the U.S.”

Nike and Umbro will continue to support USL through a long-term sponsorship agreement naming Umbro as the official sponsor and exclusive supplier of match balls for USL’s professional and amateur leagues, including USL First Division, USL Second Division, Premier Development League and W-League. Nike Soccer will also serve as an exclusive sponsor for USL.

“This is really the best of both worlds for USL,” said Francisco Marcos, Founder and President of United Soccer Leagues. “We have new ownership that will focus solely on developing and growing the leagues, and Umbro and Nike Soccer join us as sponsors to support our franchise owners, teams and athletes.”

NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC
NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC is part of the umbrella family of companies known as The NuRock Companies. The Principals of NuRock have a dedicated and deep understanding of the soccer industry. As part of its family of companies, NuRock is an existing USL franchisee, with a USL Premier Development League operation in Atlanta. Robert Hoskins is the Chairman of NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC and is the Founder and Managing Principal of The NuRock Companies. Alec Papadakis is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of NuRock Soccer Holdings.

United Soccer Leagues
United Soccer Leagues (“USL”), with headquarters in Tampa, FL, is the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America. USL is comprised of six leagues, USL First and Second Divisions (men’s professional soccer), Premier Development League (men’s under-23), W-League (women’s), Super-20 League (under-20, men’s and women’s amateur), and Super Y-League (boy’s and girl’s elite youth amateur). Dedicated to growing the sport of soccer at the grassroots level, USL has provided a platform for thousands of players to reach their dreams over the last three decades.

One Response
  1. william hotchkin permalink
    September 6, 2009

    It seems to me the USL new owners (who ever they eventually are) should try to provide higher salaries for the players. To rival the MLS or permit Americian players to build a career our feeder athletes (college grad, NCAA, NAIA etc.) need career type contracts. The European Club finance system is not what we want. Our youth soccer, soccer Mom, High School and Inter Collegate popularity is our fan base. Let’s appeal to that. That’s who we want to watch. Baseball goes from here to other countries. Soccer fan support needs our feeder marketing, from our rivalries (rivals). Soccer is a multicultural game but American Marketing is USA.
    Let’s do it our way, we’re the fans. If we’re ever going to World Cup it. We want to do it our way. A few years ago, we got a glimps of that, the new owners must restore that furvor. Thank You

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