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A Few More Tidbits On the NASL Bid

2010 November 11
by Brian Quarstad

IMS has learned that the NASL will not reveal more information about the ownership groups that are involved with the eight teams that have been submitted to USSF for sanctioning of Division II soccer in the U.S until after US Soccer has made a decision.

The National Sports Center was contacted today to find out more about the new owner or owner investor. NSC Stars General Manager Kris Bjerkness released a very brief statement to IMS saying: “I can’t comment on the structure of the league until after USSF acts on the application.  I will say that we are very pleased that pro soccer can continue in Minnesota.”

IMS has confirmed that the initial 8 teams are indeed, Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, FC Tampa Bay, Montreal Impact, Miami FC Blues, NSC Minnesota Stars and the Puerto Rico Islanders.

From information IMS has obtained, it is still possible that other teams could be added to the league at a later date if they were to meet all the USSF D2 requirements and were accepted by the NASL. That would include AC St. Louis if the sale is completed and the new owner were to pass the NASL’s standards. It’s also been learned that the NASL vetted their teams very carefully to make sure they would pass the financial standards that US Soccer has set.

It’s also believed that Rochester is mentioned in the about statement at the end of the press release for legal reasons. A source from the NASL who did not want to go on record had previously told IMS that Rochester signed a multi-year agreement with the NASL. Rhinos owner Rob Clark recently announced that he was moving his team to the United Soccer Leagues’ new league, USL PRO, a third division league that is currently centered on the East Coast.

It’s also believed that the FC Baltimore that was also mentioned in that same statement is the Medds, who previously owned Crystal Palace Baltimore and are interested in starting another team in the future. Pete Medd was reported to have been at the AGM. CP Baltimore ran out of money before the season started and was helped out by the league and the USSF to finish the season.

This afternoon Brian Wellman, son of RailHawks majority owner Selby Wellman, released a press statement with a few minor points concerning the NASL and the AGM. Here are a few of those points.

* RailHawks owners will be traveling to Toronto next week for MLS Cup and hold several meetings to discuss scheduling, play-offs and many other topics.
* San Antonio attended the AGM this past week and brings a powerful and experienced group to the table. San Antonio will begin play in 2012.
* The NASL has agreed to terms with another new franchise yet to be disclosed until official. This franchise is planning on playing in 2013.
* We (the NASL) have several other franchises wishing to join and will visit these cities in the coming months.

31 Responses
  1. AOB permalink
    November 11, 2010

    Also at the end of the press release were the Vancouver Whitecaps. Any word on their NASL involvement as they join MLS?

  2. November 11, 2010

    I had written at one time that Vancouver had actually expressed interest in buying the team from Minnesota at one point, but I heard that once MLS announced a return of the reserve league they lost interest. However, I am hearing the Joey Saputo definitely wants to keep a team in the league.

  3. Daniel Blodgett permalink
    November 11, 2010

    Will Mr. Saputo want to keep the team in Montreal or are looking at another Canadian city? I know that Ottawa and London, Ontario are interested in joing the NASL, and Ottawa hasn’t been quiet about the matter either. Announcing the plan as one of their many reasons for a new sports complex.

  4. November 11, 2010

    Who knows, perhaps Ottawa is involved with this somehow.

  5. November 11, 2010

    I knew it! Booyeah! Well that is great news for everyone involved if Ottawa has half the success of Toronto and Montreal. I think the NASL should look at smaller cities and not larger ones though. Smaller cities will fully embrace a pro team and make it theirs wholly, whereas a major metropolis will hardly notice a lower tiered pro team and show it indifference as the occupants go see the NHL, NFL, CFL, MLB, NBA etc… Has an MLS city ever shared space with a Division II team before?

    I know that the folks in Victoria are happy with a PDL team, but they are a perfect fit for the NASL. They could bring in over five thousand each game no sweat.

  6. Bart permalink
    November 11, 2010

    The Ottawa deal is a sham with Saputo’s money behind it. Maybe His Highness Joey should get a real job and not keep suckling on his family’s breasts.

    Yes, I say this in the open, because this billionaire member of a family unit thinks he is beyond reproach.

    The USSF board will hopefully see the sham behind this nonsense and analyze the real numbers.

    I want D2 to be sanctioned. I hope that USSF requires a binding 3 year commitment in the funding of these wannabe teams, but the problem is that this will not be in the application that was submitted.

  7. November 11, 2010

    I just wanted to publicly say thank you, Brian, for all the hard work and effort you put in to bring us fans information about US soccer that we otherwise wouldn’t hear. Then we can argue about it afterwards LOL, but I appreciate what you report without any agenda except for the growth of the sport in North America. Great job as always !!!

  8. chickenhead permalink
    November 11, 2010

    yes, thanks for your hard work Brian. Those of us starved for information benefit greatly from your efforts.

  9. B.Lindsay permalink
    November 11, 2010

    In respect to the 2013 team, the two big possibilities seems to be Ottawa (mentioned before, the new Lansdowne Park stadium is planned to be ready for a 2013 CFL franchise with a soccer team as a secondary tennent) and Hamilton.

    On the Hamilton front, here’s an article updating the state of the PanAm Games/Tiger-Cats proposed stadium (which has in the past, like Ottawa, signalled it wants soccer as a secondary).

    –> http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/cfl/article/888907–ticats-announce-details-for-proposed-pan-am-stadium-in-hamilton

  10. George Neto permalink
    November 12, 2010

    The Ottawa NASL interest is coming from Ottawa 67’s Jr. Hockey team owner Jeff Hunt, who is seeking a NASL team and a Canadian Football League team for the renovated Landsdowne park. Originally, he was seeking a MLS team, but the reality is that MLS is finished with expanding to Canada after Montreal joins in 2012.

    The Canadian Football League Hamilton Tiger Cats’ owner Bob Young , who is a partner in the Carolina Railhawks, is seeking a NASL team for occupancy in a new stadium being built for the PA-AM games in Hamilton. The new stadium will also be the home of the CFL Tiger-Cats.

    It is not likely that Joey Saputo of the Montreal Impact is involved with Ottawa. I suspect that it if he does want a team it will be based in the province of Quebec? Quebec City would be the most logical choice.

  11. Bart permalink
    November 12, 2010

    Two more Canadian teams? Right now, with the NASL team composition, the US based composition is 62.5%. The D2 regulations call for 75%. With two more Canadian teams, that brings the composition of US teams to 50%.

    I would imagine this giving USSF heartburn.

    Further, if Mr. Hunt wants an NASL team in Ottawa, why blow money on a team in Minnesota? The cash will not be an investment in his personal soccer business if Ottawa is the locational choice.

  12. teucer permalink
    November 12, 2010

    I’m with Bart. I think it’s gonna be somewhere in the US, for sure.

  13. November 12, 2010

    Somewhere like Austin where the minority share holder in the Aztex was at the NASL AGM?

  14. WeatherManNX01 permalink
    November 12, 2010

    Rhinos listed for legal reasons – is there any chance that the Rhinos could avoid the legal hassles of dropping to USL Pro if they agree to return to NASL at some point in x years? Clark seemed to be looking more at short-term solutions, and a move to USL Pro would be a short-term move if he wasn’t sure about the viability of the NASL. Perhaps once they get established and/or the drop to USL Pro doesn’t pan out financially?

    I don’t know…just idle speculation.

  15. Grant Stephens permalink
    November 12, 2010

    Also would like to say ‘Thanks!’ to Brian! This website is an excellent resource and your hard work does not go unnoticed!

    Im still holding out hope for AC St. Louis. Like BQ has been saying, they could appear later, but these are just the teams that are solid for the sanctioning bid.

    Also very pleased for Minnesota and their fans! Glad that The Stars are gonna be around and that a place that has hosted soccer for 20 + seasons will continue to do so…

    And one last wish: that Austin gets their team back and gets drawn one day with Orlando City SC in The USOC in Austin! Of course, I would love it if The new Austin team stomps them!

  16. ERic permalink
    November 12, 2010

    @Daniel – read the comments from one of the other recent NASL articles. An Austin minority share holder was *not* at the NASL AGM. If anyone related to Austin was there, it was a board member.

    I really wish people would *not* get their hopes up on Austin. If there was a ‘minority owner’ that had enough money to meet the USSF D2 standards and put up a new NASL team, why didn’t he join in with Phil before now?

    I suppose “because Phil wanted to stay with the USL”… but as pissed as I am at him for moving the team, I really have a hard time believing that Phil would rather kill the Aztex than accept a partner with as much money as him and move to the NASL.

  17. Sounder's74 permalink
    November 12, 2010

    The fact is the as nice has these cities are they are already slated for CLS expansion. Quebec City is ready for the CSL in 2011 but will wait until 2012 and Ottawa have received conditional acceptance into the league for 2011. Like I said before as nice as these city sounds unless you want to step on the CLS and CSA toes then these city are not big enough for two teams and if the do move in to these city then the great NASL will proven to me that they are not savory but destroyer of soccer and they are no better the USL.

    http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/blog/post/680905

  18. pony permalink
    November 13, 2010

    @Sounder’s74

    CSL = USLPro. There is no competition and the CSA wouldn’t stop D2 franchises from going into the same markets are CSL clubs.

    As a Canadian, I dream of the day of our own D2 League with 8 clubs! Maybe someday.

  19. WSW permalink
    November 13, 2010

    The destroyer of the league is USL not NASL.

  20. Bart permalink
    November 13, 2010

    WSW –

    The destroyer of which league? What are you talking about?

  21. November 13, 2010

    WSW, that is one of the more ridiculously generalized statements I’ve ever seen on this site in a while.

    While there is issue with Marcos’ franchise system with the pro leagues they were one of the few to stick their necks out and create leagues in the 80’s and 90’s when no one else had the vision or courage. How do they destroy PDL? The W-League? Super-Y? If there is something you don’t like about USL then please be specific and tell us your viewpoint. USL Pro is now trying a different approach. Lets give them a chance and see if they can make it work. The more soccer in this country the better for everyone. Personally I hope they are very successful and I also hope the NASL is successful.

  22. Strikers Return permalink
    November 13, 2010

    Couldn’t agree more BQ. If USL can succesfully operate D4 and D3, while the NASL successfully gets D2 going, it is good for the growth of the game on the whole for our country. Regardless of what has gone on in the past, it is what we all should want now that the lines have all been clearly drawn, and we know who has put their stakes in the ground where.

  23. Sounder74 permalink
    November 13, 2010

    Right now CLS is gearing up for expansion not only in those cities that I named but across Canada,. I think the problem is that some city are already slated or already have CLS teams in them. These cities are only big enough for one team and by putting teams in cities big enough for only one team and putting teams in big cities that are key cities for expansion and possible the start a Canadian D2 we are stiffing the growth of their D3 and their chances for Canada to grow it own D2. The way I see it CLS and Canada has a whole is at same level as we were as a soccer nation in 1995. I a torn between the two ideal on one hand Canada have it on league would do wonderful for it player and National team and give me a second league to watch, but this will take years because of the lack of investors. On the other hand if NASL if the expanded to Canada then this would happen in a couple of years but I believe in the right of Canadian independence as a soccer nation. They should have the right to run their own league but are we giving them the chance by expanding it to the territory. May be I putting my personal feeling about the NASL in to this. Oh by the way when I said destroyer it meant they would be doing the opposite of what the NASL say the were here for to better soccer and help it grow of the sport . When I said not any better than the USL I meant how certain faction of the NASL fan base see the ULS l as a only in it for the money league and how the USL din’t not care about the teams and stifle the grow of their which lead them to brake away and that help got us to this whole mess in the first place.

  24. Bart permalink
    November 14, 2010

    Sounder74, you write…

    “I meant how certain faction of the NASL fan base see the ULS l as a only in it for the money league and how the USL din’t not care about the teams and stifle the grow of their which lead them to brake away and that help got us to this whole mess in the first place.”

    Let’s get very real here for a minute. Not one NASL owner is in the soccer sporting business to lose money. They may be here for the love of the game, but the ultimate motivation is to marry that love with a profit. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    USL has every incentive for its teams to do well, as USL is a league. Without teams, it loses its ability to be a league, which also means it loses money. The owners of USL may also be in this for the love of the game, but they too are in it for profit.

    Stop drinking all the Kool Aide BOTH sides pour into those dainty cups. It is not healthy and you lose sight of what is really going on.

    USL dropped D2 because it discovered it was a losing proposition and they never would have gotten D2 sanctioning.

    NASL has skewed together what appears to be a shrewd application for USSF.

    Whether they get sanctioned or not, I do not know, but both groups are in this for survival.

  25. November 14, 2010

    @Sounder74. I bet most American soccer fans probably want to see an American Division II league of their own, but they don’t have one. Regardless of the fact that the USSF has sanctioned a Division II league, whether it be USL-1 or USSF, The last three champions have not been yank teams. Nor have the most profitable been either (Portland aside). For a while Canada, the Caribbean, and the States are going to need each other to limp along until communities really embrace the teams they have like Rochestor managed to do. I don’t believe you when you say that creating more teams that try to sell themselves to the public, advertise, and are managed well, could be a detriment on a whole. Pushing foward might actually help those CSL teams. I never knew we had the AMSL in Alberta until Edmonton FC popped up, and I started showing interest in that league and going to CIS games as well.

  26. Tony in Florida permalink
    November 14, 2010

    Everything should be under the MLS umbrella eventually. MLS should lobby the USSF to reject the NASL application and should buy USL. MLS can also buy MISL to give the players a place to go during the winter if they are under contract. cYouuth teams should all be connected with MLS teams be they current MLS or D2/D3/D4.

    Other countries do it this way. MLS is our top division and the one structured properly to survive in a tough sporting environment and economy. USL and NASL are failures or doomed to fail. C’mon USSF do it now, let MLS go beyond the first division and run soccer in this country.

  27. Sounder74 permalink
    November 14, 2010

    @Bart you are correct and made more sense them a lot of people I talk to. I think we are saying the same thing but you are going in to more detail. The USL is in it both for money and the love but a year ago the love didn’t show. What I trying to saying is none of the two league are better than the other. Yes you can say I am drinking for both side of the Kool Aide and I realize both of them are tasted pretty gross. 🙁 . I know the truth and I am not blinded and I know there are some black, white and grey areas. I know they are in it for the money that is not really even there. Hint the ULS moving to D3 which was a good ideal and were I think soccer under the MLS is going. The same reason the NASL is moving it to Canadian to get the fans to get the money I got that. What I saying if you are going to put team in Canada and by doing so crush the chances of a league for your own benefit just say that. . I read all the smoke screen they been giving out on their wed site and I not buying it. I think both leagues should stop pretending to be something they are not cause by putting team in these Canadian cities doing this your are saying the opposite of what you say you are here for and you are not really helping soccer you are helping yourself survive and I understand that. Just call a spade a spade. Do I believe what they are doing is right no!! Do I blame the for doing it no!!!, it is partly CSA fault for dragging their heel on the matter but that another story maybe BQ can write about. I am just trying to open people’s eyes all the fact.

  28. Sounder74 permalink
    November 14, 2010

    @Daniel Blodgett I think I understand what your are saying please explain further . When you say pushing forward would help who you mean the NALS or the CSL
    I never heard abut it until you brought it up thanks I look that up. What I know about he committees is very little I know their in charge of the smaller team and I know they also some vote on the direction the will put their support behind say the CSL, USL, or NASL but his might be the up to the Canadians that need to embrace the teams.

  29. November 15, 2010

    Tony, I have a hard time taking you seriously when I continue to hear these comments from people even after MLS has said they hardly have the money to run a reserve league let alone any other league. As I’ve written here before, USL and NASL have both had meetings with Garber and company and for now (could change in the future) they have no interest in running or owning any other leagues. They don’t even have a lot of interest in investing in or running reserve teams in these divisions. Remember, only three teams are making a profit in MLS. The rest are losing money and all owners and the league would be in trouble without SUM.

    Also, I believe your premise to be very misguided. I live in a non-MLS city. I am never and I mean never going to embrace any MLS team like I do my own 2nd division team. No, the quality is not quite as good but it’s my team and I get to watch live soccer and a pretty regular basis in the summer. Beats the hell out of driving 500 miles to Chicago every other week.

    I do hope that there is some sort of agreement with one of these lower leagues and MLS in the future so that instead of fielding reserve teams that play meaningless matches the those teams will actually play in a league where the games have purpose and meaning.

  30. Strikers Return permalink
    November 15, 2010

    I agree with BQ that I hope the future brings SOME KIND of continued ties between MLS and the lower divisions. But thinking they are interested in spending money they don’t have operating D2-D4 is just farcical Tony.

    I think it would be great if at a minimum there continued to be relationships developed between MLS teams and D2 and D3 teams in the form of player loans. I don’t think it’s inconceivable someday that, given financial sense, teams that are still loyal to NASL (Whitecaps, Impact) could field reserve teams in the league as well.

    Playing matches in a lower division on (or against) teams who are actively competing in their own league would seem to me to be of more value then “practice games” against other reserve squads in a full MLS reserve league. And a full reserve league would only be if the league started being more successful financially outside of just three teams and felt it was worth the money they’d need to spend.

  31. Jayme permalink
    November 17, 2010

    Sounder’s74
    No question ottawa is big enough and likely woudl welcome both teams with open arms.

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