July 25, the North American Soccer League (NASL) announced that the Board of Governors unanimously approved expansion franchise bids for Jacksonville, FL, and Oklahoma City, OK.
Jacksonville and Oklahoma City will begin play in 2015.
“We have considered expansion to cities that meet specific criteria and most importantly have strong ownership groups that will provide a long and stable future for the NASL in those markets,” said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson, “which we clearly have in both Jacksonville and Oklahoma City.”
Mark Frisch and former professional soccer player Dario Sala of the Sunshine Soccer Group led the successful Jacksonville bid. The Sunshine Soccer Group staged a Mexico Primera League exhibition game at EverBank Field in the city earlier this month.
“[I] believe this is a great move for soccer in Florida,” said Peterson. “The Sunshine Soccer Group is creating another in-state rivalry for our teams the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers, appealing to the global soccer passion for local derbies that are always special occasions.”
Oklahoma City businessman Tim McLaughlin headed up OKC Pro Soccer LLC, which has secured the rights to plays its games at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City.
“Bringing a high-level professional soccer club to Oklahoma City is going to add an exciting new sports dimension to our city and state,” said McLaughlin. “We will create a revenue source for the local community because every ticket we sell will benefit inner city schools.”
The NASL Board considered four prospective expansion bids in various cities.
NASL fall season kicks off Aug. 3
The second half of the 2013 NASL season kicks off next weekend on Saturday, August 3, with the winner joining the Spring Season champions Atlanta Silverbacks in NASL Soccer Bowl on November 9. All games will be streamed live at www.NASL.com.
The New York Cosmos make a much-anticipated return to league play versus the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Hofstra University. The Cosmos have done everything right in relaunching the storied club so far. The Cosmos have proposed a $400 million, 25,000 seat, world-class stadium on Long Island; introduced free shuttles for fans to-and-from home games; launched a local World Cup-style Cosmos Copa tournament, and attracted Nike as a kit sponsor and Emirates Airlines as a jersey sponsor.
NASL is a professional soccer league established in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, featuring: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota United FC, New York Cosmos, Puerto Rico Islanders, San Antonio Scorpions FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Indy Eleven, Ottawa Fury FC and Virginia Cavalry FC will begin NASL play in 2014 and clubs in Jacksonville and Oklahoma City kick off in 2015.
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