SAISD Scupper SS&E Soccer Bid

The decision has been made from the Board of the San Antonio Independent School District to continue redevelopment of Alamo Stadium.  The Board, however, has elected not to rezone Alamo Stadium effectively ending any bid to establish a pro soccer franchise by Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

The original deed for the stadium states that the use of the facility will not be for private benefit thereby guaranteeing the public interest is the prime beneficiary.

This ends the more than three and half year saga between SAISD and SS&E to bring pro soccer to San Antonio.  In a rather odd and abrupt twist to the story the timing of the decision directly coincides with the beginning of the inaugural season for San Antonio’s other pro soccer team, the San Antonio Scorpions FC.

The Scorpions FC are scheduled to begin play in April and look set to corner the market for bexar county supporters.  The grassroots marketing for the team and recent plans to build a soccer specific stadium have been met with great reception from local patrons.

While SAISD seem to have little interest in hosting a pro soccer club in Alamo Stadium SS&E have yet to make their intentions clear.  SAISD, it seems, needs to work toward getting their house in order rather than being distracted by what SS&E want and by extension, what soccer fans what.

If SS&E would like to commit to establish a world class football club, they need to show more faith in the public.  They need only look at what small success Gordon Hartman is having with the Scorpions FC.

While it remains to be seen whether the Scorpions FC will be competitive in the long run, the steps taken by Gordon Hartman and company have placed faith in an idea that soccer is profitable.  However, the faith of soccer in San Antonio now hinges on whether or not soccer for a cause can be a success.

Let us not forget that success on the pitch directly translates to success off of the pitch.  The more games you win, the longer you stay around.  Can Scorpions FC turn their first season into a winning one?  Will SS&E continue to keep their soccer dream alive?

Let us know what you think and leave a comment below.

San Antonio Struggles To Find Soccer Identity

Pro soccer is on the way to San Antonio and long time soccer fans might be getting two teams to support.  But, will this cause a crisis in soccer identity?

The San Antonio Scorpions FC are scheduled to begin play in April later this year.  Their home opener will occur April 15th at Heroes Stadium on the Northeaset side of town against the Puerto Rico islanders.

Heroes Stadium holds 11,000 and is owned and operated by the Northeast Independent School District specifically for high school sports and athletics.  The Scorpions FC have plans to build a 6,000-seat stadium to begin hosting NASL league matches in 2013.

Meanwhile, Spurs Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the NBA San Antonio Spurs, have been locked in a battle with the Southside Independent School District over the eventual use of Alamo Stadium.  The SAISD recently allocated $35 million dollars from a bond to renovate Alamo Stadium with the focus on expanding the grounds to accommodate a FIFA regulation sized soccer field.

With a vote in favor of expanding the field and preserving the track for high school track and field, the door for SS&E has been opened to proceed with their plans to establish San Antonio’s second pro soccer franchise.  The SS&E pro soccer team will compete in the USL and will play their home games in the 23,000-seat Alamo Stadium.

If SS&E are successful in establishing a pro soccer team and the SA Scorpions FC build their new stadium, soccer supporters might face a dilemma.  Do they choose to remain loyal to the Spurs franchise or do they continue to support ‘soccer for a cause?’

For some clarity perhaps, one might want to ponder a few things before making any snap judgements.  Both teams will be competing in two different leagues considered by US Soccer as Division 2, one step removed from Major League Soccer.

The Scorpions will compete in the NASL (North American Soccer League) and SS&E will compete in the USL (United Soccer Leagues).  Both leagues have a significant history with each other and were once one league.

Although the USL has been operating for 30 years and boasts 12 teams expanding into San Antonio has long been talked about.  The NASL, however, has a more colorful past and will infamously be remembered for the wild ride it took us on in the ‘70s and bringing Pele to America.

The leagues these two teams compete in is a minor detail, although, it is a fact that the USL will offer more league matches per season than the NASL, which only has 9 teams including the Scorpions.

What I’m wondering is, which team will make an easier transition into the MLS?

By all indications the Scorpions FC and Gordon Hartman have all the intention in the world to move forward with establishing a pro soccer franchise in San Antonio.  They are very close to making that dream a reality.  So I ask, how much longer will it take for them to get into the MLS?

As much as I hate using school district funded stadiums for professional sports, when I make the comparison between organizations, it does appear that SS&E have taken the fast track to becoming an MLS expansion team.

Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, has already indicated that San Antonio is a viable option, recently stating that a minor league team “might be good prospects to virtually promote up into MLS.”  This coming from a man who we already have a rocky history with, given our last dealings with the commissioner.

That being said, SS&E’s final direction has yet to be discovered and a team has yet to be announced.  Should there be an announcement in the near future, I would like both clubs/organizations to remember the original focus of the supporters in San Antonio, and that is Major League Soccer.