Report: Foreign Investors Seeking NASL Expansion to Philadelphia

IMAGE, ASLSOCCER.ORG

by JAKE NUTTING

Increased foreign investment in the North American Soccer League is playing an integral part in the growth of the still relatively young league. Brazilian media rights entrepreneur Riccardo Silva is the primary owner of one of this year’s startups, Miami FC, and investors from both Brazil and Colombia are among the group launching the San Francisco Deltas next year.

The interest from abroad doesn’t seem to be dissipating, as a report from Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com outlines a bold plan to pool investment from Spain, Dubai and Las Vegas to bring a NASL team to the Philadelphia region.

According to the lengthy report, the man on the ground in Philadelphia working to make the plan a reality is the owner of the fourth-tier American Soccer League’s Philadelphia Fury, Matt Driver. The plan is to bring the the Fury name for the move, capitalizing on the leftover cache from when the Fury was a member of the original NASL from 1978-1980.

“We see the NASL as a great part of our vertical integration system – it would be the perfect avenue for us to look at,” Driver said. “There’s nothing concrete… I haven’t gone to the NASL yet and said I would like to apply for a NASL franchise. Would we like to see that? Absolutely.”

However, it’s important to note the financial capital that Driver admits he needs to pull off a move to the NASL has not been locked in, and no one involved with the expansion effort has formally contacted the league office yet.

The Fury hosted La Liga side SD Eibar on Sunday in friendly that ended 1-1. The match up is no coincidence, as the the report also states that Eibar’s ownership is currently the most prime candidate to invest in Driver’s plan. Stoking the flames a bit is also the fact that Eibar is set to play the NASL’s New York Cosmos on Wednesday in an exhibition in Las Vegas.

A connection between the NASL and Spain was already forged in the past year, with Spanish side Rayo Vallecano becoming the primary owner of the league’s new team in Oklahoma City. Unlike with Rayo OKC, though, Driver’s comments paint a picture of his potential NASL team placing more emphasis on the development of players to sell off to European clubs with deep pockets, as well as the formation of a direct partnership with ASL teams to develop players. Driver also happens to be the CEO of the ASL.

“We surround the potential NASL teams with ASL affiliates…,” Driver said. “They feed into the NASL franchise. If you use the baseball concept, they’re [single] A, NASL is double-A or triple-A – well, maybe double-A. Then they can get the guys to Europe, to the Czech League or the Swiss League, and then hopefully they make the jump up to one of the big five leagues.”

At the moment, the hope is for the Fury to call Rowan University in Southern New Jersey home. The team hosted Eibar at the university’s 5,000 seat stadium, but there are ongoing discussion about constructing a new 10,000 seat stadium on campus.

A honest-to-goodness northeastern rival is sure to entice supporters of the New York Cosmos. Presently, the opponent closest to them on the map is Ottawa Fury FC, a team that is sure to have a bone to pick with this Philadelphia Fury group for obvious reasons.

  • Eric B

    So the Union’s biggest problem is their location and this group’s goal is to place a team even farther away from the city.

  • The only garber

    God can’t wait for mls to create an mls2

  • Arsenal10023

    This guy sounds like a nut job….blowing smoke. Nothing to see here….move along.

  • George

    What is needed in this country, is clear and open league system we have in Europe. If club wins its league advances to higher tier. If you stink, end up last you are dropped to the lower tier. You know what is expected from you and what possible outcome will be.
    New clubs ought to be starting from the bottom, in order to build solid and strong organization on their way to their top.
    Money doesn’t fix that problem. MLS is a laughing matter outside of this country, Pirlo and Giovanco, now are very sorry they came here, because most likely Euro 2016 both of them will watch on flat screen far far away from France.
    From sport point of view funding club and team and placing them in high leaugue is senseless: NYC FC, Red Bulls are just examples, not exceptions.
    You must invest into a generation ahead, be conscious and not selfish or greedy when creating a professional club, otherwise you are really playing soccer, while rest of the world – football.
    I’d love to see NASL grow, in many aspects I think is much better than MLS, many teams are playing much better as well.
    System of closed leagues, provides in my opinion very limited motivation for players and fans, for, after all, how many times NY Cosmos should win same NASL Cup?
    Mercy!

  • Alex gago

    NASL has huge advantage for foreign investment with liw cost king to enter league and the T.V. deals secured irs a no brainer. Well done Bill!

    • Hernando Peralta

      Yeah, with these kind of crowds : Edmonton : 1200, Fort Lauderdale : 1250 and the King of the NASL : Cosmos : 3500 , c’mon losers,

      • What Larry Really Means

        My butt is still bleeding from the beating NYCFC took this weekend so I crawl back here under an assumed name to talk about The only thing my team is good at , drawing crowds. Of course those are down from last year and my team reeks of USA but I am a buffoon so I will keep posting about attendance.

        I am too stupid to live.

    • Alex gago\’s brain

      USL has an even lower cost to enter the league. Why didn’t I mention that as a possible entry point for foreign investors. Many good size markets still available. Thump thump (head hitting wall)!
      Better attendance, MLS attention and competition.

      • OpenCupFan

        B/c USL is a minor league, real CLUBS aren’t minor league affiliate franchises. AND multiple 4th division / amateur teams in NPSL have better attendance than the majority of USL franchises. #Fact
        .
        Support your local INDEPENDENT soccer CLUBS!!!

        • DanGerman

          You realize Open that everything you said could also be said about the NASL. With Rayo being an affiliate and Eibar looking to put another team in NASL. Plus currently Nashville in the NPSL outdraws most of the NASL including the Cosmos unfortunately.

        • Eric B

          Similarly, multiple USL teams have better attendance than EVERY NASL team.

  • Weren’t the Philadelphia Atoms the original NASL Philly team? Either way I love it. Bring back the Fury!

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