It took years of rumors, “imminent” announcements that never came to pass, and the league itself nearly dying, but history was made on Wednesday, as the NASL announced expansion to Orange County, California in 2018.
As previously reported earlier this year, the new team will be owned by local businessman Pete Capriotti and the team will play at Titan Stadium in Fullerton.
“On behalf of our Board of Governors, it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome Pete Capriotti and soccer fans in Orange County to the NASL,” said Interim Commissioner Rishi Sehgal in the announcement of the news. “We’re thrilled that such a fantastic market will join the league and we have been impressed with Pete’s vision, passion for soccer, and overall business leadership. The club will be an exciting addition to the league.”
“Soccer has always been a family affair in our house – we all love it,” Capriotti said in the same statement. “I’m a big fan and supporter of local, grassroots soccer and that’s what this club will represent. It will unite a base of soccer fans who are passionate about the quality of play and experiencing something fun and entertaining. We’re going to find talented players and help develop their careers, while building a championship team that the fans can be proud of.”
No name was announced for the new team, though the earlier report said the team would be connected to local amateur side Los Angeles Wolves, which could allow the NASL team to revive the Wolves name, which was attached to the original NASL team way back in 1968. Still, that part is not yet clear.
In addition, SI.com’s Grant Wahl reported on Wednesday that the new team was in talks to hire Eric Wynalda as head coach, which is no surprise at all considering he was hired as the LA Wolves head coach for this year’s U.S. Open Cup, and that gig may be a transition to getting the NASL head coaching job. Still, that’s currently a report.
NASL released a video on the announcement, featuring some of the Southern California hallmarks locals are well familiar with.
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