The NASL announced today that they would be expanding to the Oklahoma City metro area with their newest club, Rayo OKC, who will begin play in 2016. The club will play their games at Yukon Miller Stadium, a high school facility just 15 minutes from downtown Oklahoma City. The team is majority owned by Raúl Martín Presa, owner of Rayo Vallecano - a La Liga club in Spain. Minority owner is Sean Jones, a Oklahoma native, who owns a few health care companies in the area. Sold Out Strategies, co-owned by Brad Lund, the original Oklahoma City FC owner, and DeBray Ayala will be the managing partner of the club.
This is the first time that a Spanish club will have invested in an American club. This will also be the first real attempt at a direct NASL vs USL rivalry within the same city. The Tampa Bay Rowdies played with VSI Tampa Bay but for only one year when VSI folded. The Cosmos play in New York City where the New York Red Bulls II play - hardly a competition since the Cosmos play NYCFC & NYRB more in Open Cup play and consider them rivals, not the reserve side.
This expansion announcement takes the league to 14 teams heading into 2016, although San Antonio probably won't be continuing, so 13 still for 2016. The league is expected to make at least one more expansion announcement before 2016. They still have yet to satisfy the USSF D2 sanctioning requirement of having a west coast team. The league will surely satisfy that condition soon.
It will be a fun ride watching what happens in Oklahoma City where there will be two teams from different leagues competing, and how the Spanish club runs its American counterpart.
Soccer On -ASC
It's been a whirlwind of a week in the Alamo City. The Scorpions ceremoniously dismissed their head coach at the airport and the home of the NASL squad, Toyota Field, was purchased by the City of San Antonio & Bexar County. The Spurs Sports & Entertainment Group, which operates the Spurs (NBA), Stars (WNBA), Rampage (AHL), Austin Spurs (NBA Development League), is going to lease the stadium for 20 years and field a USL team to play at Toyota Field. SS&E are tasked with bringing a MLS team to San Antonio within the next 6 to 13 years, or they will have to pay the county and city $5 million split between the two.
MLS will be meeting in early December to iron out their expansion plans beyond 24 teams. With the backing of the Spurs and a stadium just waiting to be expanded, this transaction puts San Antonio back in the drivers seat for MLS. What has yet to be announced is how this deal affects the current tenants of Toyota Field, the San Antonio Scorpions.
The Scorpions' statement regarding the purchase of the stadium was very vague.
SS&E have said that they plan of fielding a USL team in time for 2016. They have had a franchise license for a USL team since 2010. There are a few options that are possible with respect to the Scorpions.
We continue to wait to see what will happen with the club. What we do know is that Gordon Hartman has accomplished what he set out to do 4 & 1/2 years ago. He has created Morgan's Wonderland - which now has funding moving forward due to the sale of the stadium - and has set San Antonio up for the possibility of getting a MLS team. He put San Antonio on the soccer map, and soccer fans here should thank him for his vision.
We will keep you updated as soon as news breaks.
Soccer On -ASC
Details of former San Antonio Scorpions head coach Alen Marcina's dismissal have come out today, a day after he was relieved of his duties by the club. According to an article by examiner.com writer Chris Hockman, and confirmed by sources of Alamo Soccer, Marcina was approached at the San Antonio International Airport after the team arrived back from their final game in Minnesota by GM Howard Cornfield. Cornfield dismissed Marcina in front of his players & the public. Alen's contract expired on Sunday anyways, so a private dismissal would have been the appropriate way to handle the seemingly difficult conversation. This is not how a "professional" organization is run. Alen was the most successful coach in team history and was well liked by his players. The manner in which Alen was fired should not go unknown to the public. Despite the poor results on the field, the club is not stable as they would have the fans believe.
Despite the cordial quotes given in the Scorpions' press release, Marcina and Cornfield did not get along. Tensions between the front office and the locker room made for a toxic work environment for both the coaches and players. Many of the current players will not be returning in 2016 and San Antonio fans will be in for another long and frustrating off-season - something that is all too familiar for the Alamo City faithful.
Alamo Soccer -ASC
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