Though their plan of bringing a semi-professional side to New York proper was ambitious, the execution left much to be desired. The organization, headed by President Doug Petersen, and VP and Jo-Ellen Treiber, was wrought with financial and structural issues from the very beginning. The team was thrown together just weeks before the start of the USL season. Once together, it was a “learn as you go” approach that guided the fledgling side haphazardly through the terrain of American professional soccer.
The front office was barren of personnel to the point where veteran players within the side had been asked to help structure media communications. Their web presence was non-existent, with a site that was barely, if ever, updated. And if you were looking for a sporting director, there was none really to speak of.
Infrastructure was another issue. FCNY struggled to draw enough fans to pay their dues at Belson Stadium, putting a hefty weight on an already minute budget, rumored to float around the area of 100-200k per year in total operations. The decrepit field itself took a toll on the players, who supposedly had to pay their way through medical ailments in order to get back on the pitch. Travel was even an issue, as the team was herded into an old, broken down yellow school bus to make their way through the sweltering heat of the summer fixtures.
“It was all a big joke,” proclaimed a source within the team. “After a few weeks, you can tell that they could not live up to the promises they made when they lured some of us into this,” said another.
As the team began to bleed financially, and the organization started to fall apart, they looked to find money in player transfers to stop the bleeding. “They tried to sell some players to get some money back.”
When that failed, they simply cut all contracts with every player on the side on seasons end and began looking towards their development projects with youth organizations to recoup their losses. After holding a handful of pay to play open tryouts, the organization let their staff know that they would take steps to close operations for the 2012 season.
Interestingly enough, despite the issues the organization was experiencing, they did achieve a modicum of success in their lone year of operation, facing the New York Red Bulls after qualifying for the US Open Cup, and ending the season with the leagues leading scorer (Jhonny Arteaga), assist man (Tadeu Terra) and minutes leader (Kyle Hoffer). However, the teams efforts were not enough to compensate for an organization which was going on an inevitable downward trajectory.
Empire contacted USL Pro league offices to confirm the validity of these reports. They issued a standard “no comment,” but did reveal that new team alignments would be announced as early as next week, perhaps solving the mystery shrouding this side.
“It was a complete shambles,” said another source within FCNY. “From day one, they had absolutely no idea what they had gotten themselves into. They had no idea the sacrifice players made to make their way to New York. They simply were not ready to be a professional team.”