Tonight is kind of a bummer. First the news on Stephane Auvray, then Columbus (sans it's three best players) coolly dispatches New York and now I'm seeing reports about the seemingly imminent demise of soccer in St. Louis. Combine all of this with the general malaise I'm feeling from the oil spill and the transformation KC's weather has undertaken in an attempt to turn us into the Seattle of the Midwest and this month is being pretty harsh on my mellow.
Here's what we know so far about the dire situation in our neighbor (and hopefully one-day still a soccer rival) to the East.
According to reports, the funding difficulties have put the future of AC St. Louis (USSF Division II) and St. Louis Atheltica (WPS) in doubt.
Major investors based in England contracted to support both teams through 2011 have run into “funding difficulties” that have put the teams at risk, according to sources. Jeff Cooper, the local attorney who headed the efforts to start both teams, is attempting to put together additional funds to keep the clubs running, with involvement from the USSF. St. Louis reportedly has until early next week to come up with additional money.
These sort of rumors aren't surprising, as they surrounded Athletica more than once last year. Both teams have impending deadlines for payroll.
AC St. Louis’s next payroll obligation comes due Friday, May 21. Efforts were being made as of Thursday afternoon to try and meet that obligation. According to sources, Saint Louis Athletica must meet payroll the following week.
It wasn't too long ago that St. Louis was considered a serious contender for an MLS franchise. Seems like those days might be very far behind. They might not even have enough money to finish this season in the minor leagues.
Earlier today a rumor website claimed that NASL officials were in Phoenix and San Antonio last week to discuss potential expansion of the league in 2012 . They also claimed that St Louis is expected to fold both its WPS and NASL teams at season’s end, if not sooner. According to the article, “Word on the street is that neither team has the cash to finish the season. Crystal Palace Baltimore which appeared to be on the brink of folding has found a few sources of investment.”
Before closing, here's the official line from U.S. Soccer:
“U.S. Soccer is aware of some challenges that are currently going on and we are diligently working through the situation.”
Whatever is going on, it's not good and it's probably not going to end well.