For the entirety of their existence, the former San Antonio Scorpions played in the North American Soccer League which was the official second division in the American soccer landscape. When they folded after the 2015 season, San Antonio FC emerged as the city's next professional team to lead the charge for a potential Major League Soccer franchise, only this time in the third division United Soccer League.
How does this affect San Antonio FC?
It's been just about two months since the San Antonio Scorpions announced that the team would not play at Toyota Field in 2016. Their press release never mentioned that they ceased operations, but did thank the city and the fans for the four years they had together. Since then, the Scorpions' website has vanished and the only trace of their existence on the NASL league site is in the history section where it mentions the 2014 NASL title the team earned. While the franchise tag of the Scorpions may be bought and moved elsewhere, the players were left homeless.
We're going to take a look at where the members of the Scorpions have ended up since the end of the 2015 NASL season.
Who stayed in the NASL?
Fort Lauderdale Strikers:
Who moved to the USL?
San Antonio FC:
Swope Park Rangers:
César Elizondo - Pérez Zeledón - Costa Rica
Joseph Nane - FC Okzhetpes - Kazakhstan
Josue Soto - FF Jaro - Finland
Zourab Tsiskaridze - FK Teplice - Czech Republic
To recap, of the 24 players that ended the season with the Scorpions:
6 players are unaccounted for; Monbo Bokar, Adrian Cann, Julio Garcia, Eric Hassli, Johnny Lawson, and Daryl Sattler.
As we find out more information about the remaining six players, this post will be updated. To those players that San Antonio FC won't see again this year, we wish them all the best with their new clubs!
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
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