From Hamilton’s front office:
HAMILTON – Hamilton Tiger-Cats caretaker Bob Young has officially begun the formal application process with the North American Soccer League (NASL) to bring an expansion franchise to Hamilton. Mr. Young is currently a significant stakeholder in the Carolina Railhawks of the NASL.
Arriving in conjunction with the pending NASL franchise would be a Hamilton-based, regionally focused, high-performance soccer training academy spearheaded by soccer development experts, present soccer administrators, professional coaches and players. The academy will offer coaching and instructional clinics to all levels of participants, from the beginner to the elite level player.
Bob Young commented, “This is a tremendous day for the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in the City of Hamilton and our great southwestern Ontario region who are directly involved in amateur soccer and the millions more who passionately enjoy the world’s game as a spectator. The legacy of professional soccer and an academy to train amateur and recreational players as well as Hamilton’s professionals of the future will have a measurable impact in our community for generations.”
The Club also released letters of endorsement from the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), The Ontario Soccer Association (OSA) and the Hamilton & District Soccer Association for the both the NASL franchise and soccer academy concepts.
Young further commented, “To have endorsement and support from Canada’s, Ontario’s and Hamilton’s soccer governing bodies for the development of a centre of excellence was of paramount importance. These institutions will be critically important as we work to identify the strongest legacy plan possible for this community and the broader region.”
The NASL franchise and soccer academy would arrive in Hamilton in conjunction with the opening of the Pan Am Games stadium to be partly financed by Young and located at the East Mountain site recommended by Facilitator Michael Fenn as a compromise solution.
“Due to the regional nature of soccer both within our city and our region, it is essential that this academy and soccer strategy be located at the East Mountain stadium that is easily accessible by multiple modes of transportation and provides a wealth of land for recreational purposes,” said Young.
The Tiger-Cats would also like to take this opportunity to pitch Hostco and the Pan-Am games to make soccer the official sport for Hamilton and its new stadium.
“With the disappointing announcement by Athletics Canada demanding track and field be removed from Hamilton, we want to ensure our much needed stadium is not put in jeopardy. To that end, we feel that combined with our professional and amateur soccer strategy announced today, soccer is the perfect fit for the Pan Am games,” said Ticats President Scott Mitchell.
Hamilton’s arrival in the NASL would mark the League’s twelfth Club, with existing teams in major U.S. markets like Miami, St. Louis and Baltimore. An expansion team is also confirmed for Edmonton, who will begin play in 2011. For more information on the NASL please visit www.nasl.com