A report on Thursday revealed details behind the rumored Orange County NASL bid. According to Midfield Press, the expansion team is affiliated with current amateur side LA Wolves FC, although it is said at one point to ultimately be “connected mainly to do with player personnel. The Wolves would serve as our reserve team continuing to play in the UPSL.”
The NASL team, to be majority owned by Orange County-based businessman Pete Capriotti, as quoted by well-known team builder Peter Wilt and expansion team sporting director Michael Collins, is slated to begin play in NASL in Spring 2018 and will play at Titan Stadium at Cal State Fullerton.
Midfield Press’ report is extensive and features a pretty lengthy interview with both Wilt and Collins, and is worth a full read. There’s a lot of interesting information in it, including a discussion of why Titan Stadium, which has a fairly long history of hosting professional and international soccer over the years, is the venue of choice for the new team, and also if Eric Wynalda, recently announced as head coach of the LA Wolves, will be head coach.
Now, given all this, what’s the likelihood this all becomes reality? After all, we’ve been told over and over again that an NASL team in Southern California is days away from being announced, only for nothing to happen.
At the moment, NASL have not officially announced this Orange County team’s entry in the league as an expansion team, so there is still a chance it ultimately doesn’t come together. It is not official, yet.
However, Angels on Parade have been given details about this Orange County bid from sources close to the effort, most of which line up with Midfield Press’ report. And the willingness of Wilt and Collins to speak extensively on the record about the expansion bid makes the likelihood it will happen much greater than past NASL rumors.
And finally, NASL is in a race against time to actually reach 12 teams, the projected minimum for a Division II league in the United States, before 2018. NASL currently only have eight teams, and are on a waiver right now to remain Division II. With the need to make sure the league is big enough in a year’s time, one figures they are in an expansion frame of mind, and if the Orange County bid checks out, then it will likely be a go.
So again, this isn’t a done deal. But it’s closer than any previous NASL expansion rumor in Southern California, and the signs at the moment seem to point to it becoming a reality in the near future. We’ll keep you posted on developments in this story.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!