Indy Eleven announced today that Peter Wilt will leave the club and pursue an NASL franchise in Chicago. The press release specifically stated that he will "pursue the creation of a North American Soccer League team in Chicago." While a Chicago NASL team has yet to be announced by the league, this is the first time that an NASL club has explicitly mentioned that one is on the way.
Wilt is very familiar with Chicago and its sports landscape. He was the founding general manager of the Chicago Fire of MLS and served as its president as well. This new club will be in direct competition with the Fire, who actually play in Bridgeview, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Wilt is going to "work with the soccer community to add a public supporters component to the investor group." That group is expected to be the Sting Trust. If successful, this club could be the first of its kind in the United States. While supporter trusts own quite a few teams in Europe and elsewhere, no professional team under USSF rule may be majority owned by one. While this team wouldn't be majority owned by it, it's expected that the Trust would play a larger part of the investor core.
This is exciting times for the NASL as they continue to expand. They will welcome Miami FC and Rayo OKC this spring, and Puerto Rico FC starting in the fall. West Coast expansion is expected to be announced in the coming year as a Pacific Time Zone team is required by USSF rules to be a division 2 league. A spring or early summer announcement is expected for this Chicago NASL team.
UPDATE: Seattle Sounders II is 20% owned by the Sounders Community Trust. While Chicago won't be the first, it could potentially have a larger supporter investment.
All things NASL
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