The NASL announced this afternoon that they have signed San Antonio as an expansion team for 2012 should they secure the sanctioning for Division 2 with the USSF in 2011.
The NASL has been working on the San Antonio market this year and it’s believed the agreement had been solidified in the last several weeks. However, the announcement seems strategically aimed at the Austin Aztex, who have still not committed to either the NASL or the USL for 2011. Previous statements from CEO Djorn Buchholz said they had no intention of playing anything other than D2 soccer in 2011. But Phil Rawlins, owner of the Aztex, has yet to reveal if he will stay with the United Soccer Leagues and join the new USL Pro, which is D3 and a step down in quality levels according to FIFA regulations, or if they will switch allegiance and join the NASL to stay at the D2 level.
San Antonio is only 90 miles from Austin, would be a natural rivalry and make for easy and cheap travel. At the current time, Austin’s closest rival is St. Louis which is over 900 miles.
“We’re delighted to have secured the rights for an NASL team in
San Antonio,” said native San Antonian Gordon Hartman who is lead man for the organization. “We will be working aggressively to finalize the details so we can share all the specifics as soon as possible.”
Hartman said he and his ownership group have pursued a San Antonio pro soccer team for two main reasons. “First, we strongly believe there’s a growing interest in and demand for soccer in our community,” he said. “Second, we believe the synergy between the professional soccer team and STAR Soccer will be very beneficial to the long-term success of Morgan’s Wonderland.”
“As we continue to expand the NASL and collectively grow professional soccer in the United States, San Antonio is a natural market with a vibrant business community and soccer fan base,” said Aaron Davidson, CEO of the NASL. “With community leader and successful businessman Gordon Hartman leading the charge, we have added a tremendous owner and partner to our league and are sure the team will follow San Antonio’s winning tradition. And like FC Edmonton, which became a member of the NASL in November 2009 and begins play in April 2011, we are confirming San Antonio and other expansion teams with at least one season’s lead time so that we give the NASL and our teams the necessary time to prepare and launch successfully.”