Miami FC CEO Aaron Davidson was a guest on yesterday’s Feuerstein’s Fire podcast, episode 36, published on the MLS Talk blog. During Davidson’s interview with host Daniel Feuerstein, Davidson talked about the immediate future of the AC St. Louis soccer club and its relationship with the NASL. The club is currently owned by founder Jeff Cooper, who earlier this fall was in negotiations with St. Louisan Ryan Woods to buy the club, as reported by Brian Quarstad on his “Inside Minnesota Soccer” blog.
Mr.Davidson was involved in a lengthy interview with host Daniel Feuerstein about the creation of the new NASL, its upcoming season and his vision for the league, following the opening segment of the podcast in which Dave discussed last week’s FIFA awards of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar with Phil Schoen of GolTV and Martin Rogers of yahoo sports. After the interview with Davidson, Houston Dynamo supporter Warren Jones and Feuerstein concluded the podcast discussing the Dynamo’s 2010 season . At about the 66th minute point of the podcast, Feuerstein asked Davidson about the status of AC St. Louis.
Feuerstein: ..the situation with AC St. Louis. Jeff Cooper of course wanted to give St. Louis a professional club to be proud of, and obviously St. Louis is a major hot bed of soccer, just like other parts of the country…What is the situation with AC St. Louis? Are they still in limbo, have they found a new investor to at least make a run in 2011, or is this it, it’s over?
Davidson: Nothing is over until it is over. We have an understanding with Jeff Cooper right now that, for now, he’s not playing in 2011. We haven’t made any announcements beyond that….At the MLS Cup we held a meeting with the eight teams that are committed for the 2011 season, and we announced our opening 2011 dates. We actually have the entire 2011 schedule already finalized. Can we change it? Absolutely, but our focus right now is doing a good job with the eight core teams we’ve got. We’re planning on San Antonio coming aboard in 2012, and are speaking to several prospects for 2012 as well. If St. Louis is a team that wants to come in for 2011, we’d have to evaluate it at that time…….The St. Louis and Baltimore situations are situations that are in flux. They are both great markets. St. Louis is the birthplace of soccer in America.
Davidson went on to characterize Jeff Cooper as one of the “good soccer people,” a pure soccer guy who understands what MLS and NASL has to do to be successful and grow the sport. Davidson also discussed the situation with the Baltimore club, who are cutting their ties with English club Crystal Palace and recently announced that they will not play in 2011, although they look to find their way back into the league in 2012. Davidson also commented on the Atlanta Silverbacks re-entry as an active member in 2011 and the investment that Traffic Sports is making into owner Boris Jerkunica’s club, and the future of NSC Minnesota and the possibility of finding potential investors among the Fortune 500 clubs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
It certainly looks unlikely that AC St. Louis will be active on the field in the NASL in 2011. Many AC St. Louis fans have been holding out hope that the team would operate during the 2011 season, despite any formal announcement from the club concerning its future. AC St. Louis was not a member of the NASL’s recent successful bid for D2 sanctioning from the USSF for the 2011 season.
As an AC St. Louis fan and season ticket holder, I’m personally disappointed that it appears likely that my home town team will not play in 2011, and that its future is unclear. However, I want to see professional soccer in North America at every level succeed, and if that means that my D2 team ceases to operate, that’s life. I’m happy that there finally is a clear structure in professional men’s soccer now, with MLS being D1, NASL sanctioned as D2 and the USLPro league operating at the D3 level, along with its PDL structure and other affiliations. The NASL as a whole suffered in 2010 from the financial problems experienced by the AC St. Louis and Baltimore franchises. I feel good about the future of the league, and am excited to see what will happen with the league captaining its own ship in 2011 with eight solid clubs. And as far as attending games, St. Louis area soccer fans can cheer on the PDL St. Louis Lions and local college teams, and the Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City games are within reasonable driving distance. I’m confident that professional soccer will be successful in St. Louis in the future.
The NASL Fanatic will continue to promote the league and soccer in North America with commentary, interviews and news. Thanks to all our readers. Episode 36 of Feuerstein’s Fire can be heard here…..http://www.majorleaguesoccertalk.com/feuersteins-fire-36/11039