Los Angeles Blues Announced as 14th USL PRO Team
Edited 12/9/10 – 11:55 a.m.
This article was edited per the request of USL to correct inaccuracies in a quote from LA Blues GM David Adams. USL President Tim Holt said that contrary to what Adams said concerning the Puerto Rican Football Association providing per diems for players and covering some transportation costs for teams, that information is inaccurate. Holt stated, “The Puerto Rican Football Federation is NOT providing any subsidization of any type for USL PRO teams playing matches in Puerto Rico, including per diem and transportation. All travel-related costs for all USL PRO matches are the responsibility of the involved teams.”
The United Soccer Leagues (USL) and Blues Soccer Club announced Tuesday the 14th USL PRO team which will play in 2011 season. The newest team is the Los Angeles Blues and they are owned by the Mansouri family who also own the very successful USL W-League team, the Pali Blues. The LA Blues will be run by Vice President and Head Coach, Charlie Naimo, and General Manager, David Adams.
Naimo has been the president and head coach of the Pali Blues since 2007 and has won two league championships, one regular season title. He was also the General Manager of the Los Angeles Sol in Women’s Professional Soccer when that team won the 2009 WPS Regular Season title.
As reported previously, the Blues will be playing the majority of their home games at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium.
“We are incredibly excited to bring a USL PRO team to Southern California and the greater Los Angeles area,” said Naimo. “This city has such a grassroots passion for the sport spread across its many neighborhoods and diverse population. We really believe we can tap into that fervor and passion and have a locally-focused team that becomes part of the fabric of its community with the Los Angeles Blues.”
“The organization has been actively pursuing a USL PRO team for the last three months,” general manager David Adams told IMS on Tuesday afternoon. “Our ownership have always wanted to own a professional men’s soccer team. Even with the two MLS teams around here, we thought by playing in Orange County we could still provide professional soccer to a group of people that perhaps can’t make it out to the Home Depot Center or don’t want to make that drive.”
Adams said that his team will be playing in USL PRO’s “international conference” that will include the Blues, 3 Puerto Rican teams and a team from Antigua in their 24 game regular season schedule.
“While we have the Puerto Rico teams and Antigua, we’ll also play teams that people around here are more familiar with like Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Rochester,” said Adams. “The official schedule hasn’t come out yet but the heaviest part of your schedule is against games in your conference. Then you cross over and play a number of games out of that conference.”
Adams was asked if the USL is helping his team with travel expenses for this year since there will be no other West Coast teams in 2011 and the USL PRO model is regional conferences to save travel expenses. Fullerton is 2,500 from the nearest USL PRO team. Adams said, “No.” He said the LA Blues ownership will be taking care of their own expenses.
Adams was asked if the USL is helping his team with travel expenses for this year since there will be no other West Coast teams in 2011 and the USL PRO model is regional conferences to save travel expenses. Fullerton is 2,500 from the nearest USL PRO team. Adams said, “No.” He said the LA Blues ownership will be taking care of their own expenses. However, he did confirm reports that the Puerto Rican Football Federation will provide some per diems for the players and cover some transportation costs for teams traveling to their country. Adams said all the details were yet to be worked out.
“Puerto Rico is doing a good job of helping us out because they understand the amount of travel we have to do to get over there,” said Adams.
“When USL proposed this design of USL PRO we thought it would be a great chance to establish something on the West Coast,” said Adams. “Unfortunately there were a couple of teams (from the West Coast) who dropped out before the USL AGM meeting. It would have been nice to have those teams near us. We’re hoping that if we have a good year, we can perhaps help establish 3 or 4 teams in the next couple of years and someday soon have a complete western division conference that would be very similar to what’s on the East Coast. I know San Diego are in the mix and there has been talk about Utah moving up. We’re also hoping that a team up north would join and there could even be another team in LA if we’re lucky.”
The other 13 teams listed on the USL PRO’s web site are: Barracuda FC (Antigua), Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, FC New York, Harrisburg City Islanders, Orlando City FC, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, River Plate Puerto Rico, Rochester Rhinos, Sevilla FC Puerto Rico, and Wilmington Hammerheads. It’s believed that Puerto Rico United is the third Puerto Rican team that will soon be added to the 16 teams USL is stating it will field for the 2011 season.