I’m hoping/guessing that last week was the last LWTM post I write for a while where there’s nothing to write about, because all of the sudden stories are flying around like hotcakes. Aside: hotcakes don’t really fly around, I just couldn’t come up with a better noun for that simile. Here we go:
- The owner of your 2015 USL League and Playoff Champions, the Rochester Rhinos, either gave up on operating the team or was excised from ownership by the USL last week, depending on whom you ask. Rhinos owner Rob Clark hadn’t made rent payments on Sahlen’s Stadium since mid-summer 2015, and owed several months worth of back taxes relating to the team as well. Far from being upset about his removal as owner, Clark sounded relieved that he didn’t have to operate the team anymore, as it was costing him “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year” in losses to operate. The league will run the team until a new owner can take over.
- Whether or not the Rhinos’ predicament is good or bad is up for debate. Fans had been fed up with Clark as an owner for quite some time, as he did not spend much, if any money marketing the team or on maintenance for the stadium. A new owner might be the breath of fresh air the 20 year old team (which very nearly ended up in MLS around the turn of the century) needs. However, Clark’s statements about the team’s viability as a business are troubling to the ears of a non-MLS “2” team fan. Unless an owner just loves soccer that much, a championship team that can’t stay afloat sounds alarm bells. Here’s hoping that was more of a product of poor ownership than the state of the business itself.
- In other news, somehow or other the Spurs Sports & Entertainment group in San Antonio is going to cobble together a USL roster to play in 2016 as the league’s 31st team. The USL and the Western Conference probably don’t mind this news because it means they’ll play a balanced (for USL) schedule now that San Antonio can fill the temporarily-defunct (we hope) shoes of the Austin Aztex. SSE already has a nice stadium to play in after the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions sold it to the local government, who will rent it to the new USL group. Like everyone else that’s joined the USL in the past two seasons, San Antonio has its eyes on an MLS franchise in the future.
- Former San Jose Earthquakes and Montreal Impact manager Frank Yallop will manage Arizona United SC in 2016. I’d call that a pretty big step down, but Yallop wasn’t all that great during his long MLS career, so hopefully this is his level and he doesn’t make AZUTD any worse than they already are.
- Finally, in local news Enrique Montano will apparently test his luck in MLS once his contract expires at the end of this coming season. Montano is a talented player and made Louisville City a two-flank team last year, so he’ll be sorely missed. That said, he’s a young guy from California with speed, a good ability to cross the ball, and great hair, so we have high hopes for him in the future. Namely, a future that includes a 2016 USL championship with Louisville City.