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Loudoun County Virginia will be Next NASL Team Announced

2012 October 29
by Brian Quarstad

Artist rendering of the new multipurpose ball park being built in Loudoun County, Virgina.

Loudoun County in Northern Virginia will be the next team announced to join the North American Soccer League. Loudoun County is no surprise as Steven Goff of the Washington Post broke the news several months ago, reporting an ownership group interested in the NASL. Several teams were discussed at this past weekend’s NASL Board of Governors meeting held in Tampa, Fla. It’s believed that the northern Virginia team was one of  those considered and was approved to start in the spring of 2014. Ottawa is also scheduled to start play that same year.

NASL Virginia.com website was discovered this afternoon that announces “soccer event rescheduled” and labeled NASL Virgina. The invitation says the event will take place next Monday, November 5, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Loudoun Soccer Park. Sources have told IMS that they believed the event was originally planed for this week but the impending storm pushed things back to next Monday. The presidential election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The Virginia group will be owned by Virginia Investment Partnership (VIP) who also own the Loudoun Hounds baseball team. Former D.C. United goalkeeper and assistant coach Mark Simpson will be in charge of VIP’s soccer operations.

Craig Stouffer from the Washington Examiner confirmed this afternoon that the Loudoun Hounds baseball team told him via an email that a “major soccer announcement” would be forthcoming next week.

The Loudoun Hounds just recently struck a deal to play at a new minor-league baseball park which is being built as part of a mixed-use development project. The new baseball stadium, where it is believe the new NASL franchise would play, will seat 5,500 and have much more room for soccer if needed. The USSF requirements for a D2 pro team requires a stadium that seats at least 5,000. The Hounds website states the stadium will not have real grass but claims it will have a microbrewery on on-site and 27 private Luxury Suites.

Loudoun County, located some 50 miles from Washington DC, is one of the fastest growing communities in the United States and also has the highest per capita income of any other county in the country.

Several weeks ago Peter Wilt announced he was working with several teams, one of them being from Indianapolis. Wilt stated that the ownership group he represented had been in talks with the NASL and also expected to be a discussion point at last weekend’s Board of Governors meeting. The former Chicago Fire and Minnesota Thunder GM said that the Indianapolis group, who he was doing consulting for, would not be ready to play until 2014.

Editors note: After posting this article it was discovered that the organization has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

33 Responses
  1. gartoz permalink
    October 29, 2012

    Not to be a jerk, but a pet peeve of mine (and a lot of people from the area):
    Tampa: city
    St. Pete, city
    Tampa Bay: body of water.

    Otherwise, great work as always BQ

  2. Stephen permalink
    October 29, 2012

    Fascinating. I understand the money is there, but is the interest? This is D.C. United’s back yard. Hopefully the team can draw enough fans to be successful. Or at the very minimum, not be a complete disaster.

    Should be interesting to see how they plan on dealing with overlapping baseball/soccer schedules. Will they put turf on the clay for every soccer game? How many midweek games will that end up being for them? I can tell you that one of the BIGGEST reasons the Rowdies have drawn so poorly is the number of midweek games on clay in 2010. It absolutley destroyed much of the interest in this franchise. And it will be years before we’ve fully recovered.

  3. October 29, 2012

    Ugh, you are right. I try not to make that mistake and I did. I know better. Shame on me. Fixed as of now.

  4. October 29, 2012

    That rendering of their ballpark looks like a much better layout for soccer than the previous one I’ve seen. With seats all the way down the one foul line, and maybe bleachers or a berm behind the outfield wall, you could run the pitch from first base to left field. Film from the outfield to show the fans.

    If they utilize sliding pits like Portland did in their D2 days at PGE, and cover them up with the turf, it won’t be too bad(certainly better than seeing football lines all over the place like Edmonton or SA this season).

    I think they are far enough from DC proper to rope in any soccer fans who aren’t making the trek to RFK and DCU matches. Who knows how many of those folks there are though. Should be an interesting addition.

  5. Soccer Boy permalink
    October 29, 2012

    A soccer stadium with a microbrewery inside? Geez this is great, even if it really is a baseball stadium with synthetic turf!

  6. sioux-per stars fan permalink
    October 29, 2012

    I think it will create an interesting semi-local rivalry with Carolina. The DC United issue could be detrimental but could also help them on weeks when DC is out of own and draw a few extra fans in. As for the stadium, I’m not a huge fan of ballparks but it seems pretty nice and the synthetic turf would allow for easy transition between soccer and baseball (ex. Metrodome for Stars v Railhawks, with U of M playing there as well for baseball). They could also build up some stands at Loudoun Soccer Park if the funds are there, but it’s not likely. Congrats to Loudoun County, can’t wait to see you join the NASL!

  7. Fotbalist permalink
    October 30, 2012

    I guess we expected this news to come soon, and it did. Great! I don’t think it’ll hurt being close to DC United. Ben Olson has always been a cooperative guy, and with Mark Simpson being in charge of Soccer Opps for VIP, it could be a great partnership.

  8. Fotbalist permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Not a fan of baseball becoming home to soccer, but what can you do…

  9. Bart permalink
    October 30, 2012

    So this is a preemptive announcement to the upcoming announcement? Is November 5th the formal announcement date?

    Did this team pay one dime to NASL for it’s entry fee, or is this like all the others? Will Loudoun County be ready for the massive onslaught of soccer fans that will populate Loudoun County for the 2013 season?

    How will Taylor Swift live without Kennedy? If a bear poops in the woods, does anyone really smell it?

    So many questions, so little time.

  10. ERic permalink
    October 30, 2012

    OK. Here’s what’s bugging me: How do you pronounce ‘Loudoun’?

  11. danwolf permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Will Bart finally admit he is an alien flea who is trying to conquer earth with his flea army.

    Yes so many questions.

  12. danwolf permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Eric, I think its like LOUD-DONE . At least that is what it sounded like on Ultras Alive.

  13. October 30, 2012

    Indeed, that is how I have been pronouncing it and have heard other pronounce it.

  14. Kejsare permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Pronounced “Lao-DUN” (former Sterling Resident who worked right next to the place where the stadium is going in).

    It is far enough outside of DC that getting to a DC United game is not easy or simple. They’ll have that corner of DC mostly to themselves and as stated in place rolling with money.

  15. gartoz permalink
    October 30, 2012

    @stephen

    all very good points about Steinbrenner Field for the Rowdies first season, but you’ve forgotten to mention the number on reason people didn’t like the stadium (or at least the number one complaint the ticket office received): the field configuration.

    While baseball stadiums like Portland, Al Lang, and Loudoun (it appears) are built so their seats behind home plate resemble a 90 degree angle, the 1st and 3rd base lines at Steinbrenner Field form an acute angle. Therefore, the field had to be placed in the outfield instead of close to the sidelines. The Mob was not affected, but people sitting on the third base side (especially in the reserved seats) could barely see the field. Luckily, it looks like Loudoun’s stadium rendering will avoid this problem.

    And with the baseball share in 2010, yes this hurt the schedule but there were still a few weekday games with good attendances (we had 5k on a Thursday night at the beginning of the season). Most of the midweek games happened towards the end of the season, when it was constantly raining, people realized the problems with the sightlines, and the people knew the team was absolutely terrible.

  16. yankiboy permalink
    October 30, 2012

    @sioux-per stars fan: I would be pleasantly surprised if fans made a 4 hour trek between Loudon and Carolina. If his group decided to go the USLPRO route they could have had Richmond and Harrisburg within 2 1/2 hours away and Pittsburgh within about 4 1/2 hours.

    Cary is about 5 hours and some change. If the Cosmos were not playing in Queens or Brooklyn instead of all the way out on Strong Island then they be about the same distance from Loudon Co.

    Personally, I’d love to ask Mr. Simpson why his group decided to go NASL when USLPRO costs so much less and appears to have so many advantages over NASL given their location.

  17. ERic permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Thanks all for the pronunciation guide. That’s what I was guessing, since the baseball team is the Hounds. But figured I’d get it for sure, since it’s possible that I’ll occasionally be saying that name come ’14.

  18. tomASS permalink
    October 30, 2012

    For something similar but different; drove by the new stadium under construction in Houston………looks like it is going to be a gem of a facility. The picture I took traveling at 70 mph directly into the sun did not turn produce the result I had hoped for.

  19. Bart permalink
    October 30, 2012

    @yankiboy

    The answer is simple, NASL is simply the best! Why take a bronze ring when you can go for the gold ring for free? It is fully understood that the market value of the teams will appreciate far faster than a D3 league team, and in the sports industry, market appreciation, not cash flow, is what drives value.

  20. doug permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Eventually… USSF will mandate Promotion/Relegation. Current team level will accelerate the team elevating to D1 (in time).

    Point#2 – Where are the other 2 teams. If the NASL is truly trying to reach 20 teams by 2016… they will need 2-3 more to sign on for the 2014 season.

    Ottowa and Virginia make 11, in a perfect world 1 or 3 more would be ideal, preferrably in the midwest/mountain regions to get the 3rd time zone requirement out of the way.

  21. Tom permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Dealing with the Pro/Rel posts is like playing “Whack-A-Mole” at the amusement park……
    @doug – could you define “eventually”? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? 50 years?

  22. danwolf permalink
    October 30, 2012

    @ Doug
    Its 2020, not 2016.

  23. Bart permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Unless and until MLS forms it’s own D2 and D3 leagues, there will be no relegation between the leagues. The teams have no vested interest in this at the MLS level.

  24. yankiboy permalink
    October 30, 2012

    @Danwolf: If I recall correctly, I don’t think that Doug isn’t off the mark with the “2016″. The Commish raised the bar by pushing the time table up on the guy(s) following his wake. I think the new target date was dropped by D2 in an IMS audio interview while he was discussing his decision to leave the NASL with my favorite media type who covers the league, one Mr. Brian Quarstad. It was about a month or so ago and you can find it in the podcast archives.

  25. Mike permalink
    October 30, 2012

    Eventually = never. Never ever. Fugetaboutit!

    Ottawa and Virginia don’t necessarily make 11 either. That’s IF all of the current teams make it to 2014. Edmonton and Puerto Rico are teetering a bit, and then of course there’s that Traffic thing. That’s also assuming the Stars are sold, which hasn’t officially happened yet. Standard rule in minor league Soccer: Walk first without falling over, and don’t even think about attempting to run. The old NASL tried that, and ran itself into the ground.

  26. October 30, 2012

    Mike,

    Where is Edmonton teetering? Do you have a link? Did you make this up, because of attendance numbers? Please enlighten me.

  27. October 31, 2012

    I can’t wait! I make the trip to see DC United quite often. It isn’t a big deal but I’m looking forward to seeing play that is also close to home. Soccer is quite popular in Loudoun and I think it will do well. It is certainly more exciting than baseball and faster-paced. It should be cost efficient as well and allow me to take my kids who love to watch DC United. I also hope it will bring better-quality soccer programs to Loudoun which are missing big time. Ashburn Soccer and Loudoun Soccer just aren’t getting the job done!

  28. Fotbalist permalink
    October 31, 2012

    @ Jennifer
    Thank you. I always appreciate a local’s perspective. I’m very glad to see your excitement; I believe this is going to benefit both Loudoun County FC and DC United. These two teams could create a fantastic Capital Derby!

    @ doug
    As much as I’d love to see your prediction about Pro/Rel come true…eventually…it seems that we are dreaming for now. Remember, I’m the ‘ultimate optimist’ and I’d love to see it happen, but I just don’t think Gulati & Co has that much power of Garber & Co. There are only two possible options for this to come to fruition: (1) For FIFA to mandate it, or (2) for the fans to create some type of revolution which brings about Pro/Rel. Thus, the probability is …….

    @ yankiboy
    I love the fact that you posed that question about choosing the NASL option over USLPro. I am inclined to believe that NASL is more attractive for investors precisely because of those increased standards that USSF has produced. It sets the NASL apart, ensuring a certain level of professionalism & play which (outside of MLS) is not available with any other option in the US. Bart was right, I believe.

  29. Kejsare permalink
    October 31, 2012

    @gartoz: Portland’s stadium was never built for baseball. The configuration for baseball sucked. The first base line seats all faced straight and not to the plate. Nor do the seats in the north end face the plate. The stadium was built in 1926 and the first tenant was dog racing. An oval track. Baseball was shoehorned in 30 years later. It is a stadium built for oval, rectangle fields and not baseball.

    I try not to scream how many times Civic Stadium was never built for baseball. But this warrants a clarification.

  30. October 31, 2012

    Thanks for that @Kejsare. That’s the first time I’d ever heard that and will tuck it away for the future.

  31. New Neighbor permalink
    November 1, 2012

    The deal isn’t done, they are trying to drop the stadium in the backyard of a Del Webb 55 and older community less than 1/2 mile away and the people that just bought homes in One Loudon are pissed.

  32. yankiboy permalink
    November 1, 2012

    ^@ New Neighbor: Thanks for sharing that particular piece of info.

    I’m sure the folks you mentioned are really angry and frustrated. I would be too if I forked out a lot of ca$h to buy into a quiet neighborhood only to be told a year later that I was going to have to deal with 60+ nights per year of noise and bad traffic.

    Having said that, usually homeowners lose this sort of battle when a municipality decides that they are willing to upset some of their residents in exchange for the revenue that could potentially be generated by approving the proposed venue plans.

  33. gartoz permalink
    November 1, 2012

    If this new team is going to have trouble with the community building the stadium, they should ask the Tampa Bay Rowdies what not to do. Back in 2009 the Rowdies were faced with the same situation and failed miserably. Otherwise, the Rowdies would have owned their own SSS in a decent location

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