Now Reading
FC Tucson joins league

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Soccer notes

FC Tucson joins league

Division includes teams from Cal., Utah; women's league gets reprieve & Quakes not so shaky

After playing it's first season as an "independent" team, FC Tucson will be playing in an actual league next year.

Tucson's minor league soccer team played in a very loosely organized league last year. Now, FC Tucson will compete in the Premier Development League, the lower level of the United Soccer Leagues.

"We are extremely excited to add an established team such as FC Tucson, which has already proven to be a success on and off the field, to the PDL," said Alec Papadakis, USL CEO, in a Thursday morning statement.

Papadakis also praised FC Tucson's leadership as "first-class."

"We look forward to watching FC Tucson become one of the benchmark teams in the PDL," Papadakis added.

FC Tucson attracted a healthy amount of support last year, despite the problems with not being in an organized league. Coach Rick Schantz thinks that being in an established league will make community support even stronger.

"Playing in the PDL legitimizes FC Tucson for our fans," he said.

This isn't the first time Tucson has been in the USL. As a matter of fact, the history with the league is pretty deep.

The USL began as the Southwest Independent Soccer League, and one of their earliest teams was the Tucson Amigos. The Amigos continued to play in the USL until the team folded in 1999.

No name change...for now

One of the minor sticking points in the talks to join the PDL was whether or not the team could keep the name FC Tucson. The USL frowns upon the "FC + city name" style common in much of the world and prefers names that adhere closer to the "city name + group of something" American tradition.

According to Greg Foster, discussion of the name issue has been "deferred."

"We'll be able to keep our brand. ...We are FC Tucson," he said.

WPS still on... for now

The goings-on with Women's Professional Soccer have been hard to follow, but the once-promising league looked to be in danger of folding completely — or at least losing its status as a sanctioned division one league — after the number of teams fell to five after the end of their latest season.

WPS's Chief Executive Officer Jennifer O'Sullivan worked out a deal with U.S. Soccer to give it a conditional extension of its status for three years. The league will have to add one team after this next season and two for the 2014 season.

It is not going to be easy. A new team was supposed to debut in Dallas at the beginning of this past season but that fizzled. Also last year, the Chicago Blue Stars demoted themselves to the WPSL rather than stay in the "top" division. They will definitely need to re-establish themselves as a true national league too: their current westernmost team is in Atlanta.

Quakes to Sentinel: We're not shaky!

See kids, this is what happens when you go by old information.

The San Jose Earthquakes have been playing at a college stadium for the past few seasons. I knew that there were plans for a stadium, but I assumed that the team was stuck with the improvised training facilities common to teams that play in someone else's stadium. So I made an off-hand comment in an article saying that teams with "shaky" practice facility situations like San Jose might have an incentive to come out to Tucson for pre-season training.

Au contraire, I found out. I got a missive from Frank Stranzl, a Quakes spokesman.

"Didn't realize we had a "shaky" practice facility situation ;) We just put in a brand new, $1 million facility last year."

Okay, I admit that I liked using the word "shaky" because of the name Earthquakes. Shows what happens when you try to be cute.

Not only do they have those sparkly new practice facilities, local San Jose officials are close to approving a permit for a $60 million, 10,500-seat stadium for the Earthquakes. The team hopes to have it open in time for the 2013 season.

Who else is in PDL?

Baring any sort of realignment between now and the start of the season, FC Tucson will likely be playing in the PDL's Western Conference, Southwest Division. Here are the teams FC Tucson will be facing:

  • BYU Cougars
  • Fresno Fuego
  • LA Blues 23
  • Los Angeles Misioneros FC
  • Ogden Outlaws
  • Orange County Blue Star
  • Southern California Sea Horses
  • Ventura County Fusion

There are strict limits on how many players can be on a roster that are over 23, so most of the players will be in college or recent graduates hoping for a call up from a bigger team (the league brags that 37 of last year's draft picks played in PDL). However, some older, better known players have been known to put some time in a PDL team before retirement. U.S. national team player Eric Wynalda ended his playing career as a player coach of the Bakersfield Brigade, and current U.S. national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann played eight games for Orange County Blue Star under the pseudonym Jay Göppingen.

Filed under

sports, soccer, pro, amateur, breaking,

— 30 —

Top headlines

Best in Internet Exploder