Oklahoma City FC (NASL)
|League||North American Soccer League|
|Website||Club home page|
Oklahoma City FC is a proposed American professional soccer team to be based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They are scheduled to join the North American Soccer League (NASL) – Division II in the American soccer pyramid – beginning in the 2016 season. The organization also fields an amateur team in the National Premier Soccer League and a women's team in the Women's Premier Soccer League.
On Valentine's Day of 2013, an ownership group of OKC Pro Soccer LLC (established by Oklahoma City businessman Tim McLaughlin) and Sold Out Strategies (managed by Oklahoma City native Brad Lund) founded Oklahoma City FC in the amateur USL Premier Development League. Oklahoma City FC finished third in the PDL’s Mid-South Division and missed out on a playoff spot by three points.
Oklahoma City FC initially intended to pursue a franchise in the United Soccer Leagues' Professional Division (USL Pro) that year. The USL, however, also received an expansion franchise bid from a competing group, managed by another Oklahoma City-based sports group, Prodigal, LLC. With Prodigal, LLC's impending bid before the tier-three league USL Pro, Oklahoma City FC instead concentrated on obtaining an expansion franchise in the tier-two NASL in April 2013. Oklahoma City FC's organizational plans met with some initial success on June 17, 2013 by obtaining the rights to lease Oklahoma City's Taft Stadium (a venue for which the Prodigal group also bid).
The USL, however, considered Oklahoma City FC's attempt to start an NASL franchise to be a breach of its non-compete agreement with the USL's Premier Development League, and issued a cease and desist letter against Oklahoma City FC. Oklahoma City FC's owners subsequently filed a lawsuit against the USL on June 28, 2013, seeking a declaration that the non-compete clause is unenforceable. The litigation is currently pending.
USL Pro awarded its expansion franchise to the Prodigal group on July 2, 2013. Shortly thereafter, the NASL awarded an expansion franchise to Sold Out Strategies on July 25, 2013. Sold Out Strategies announced on April 7, 2014, that its NASL team would be named Oklahoma City FC – the same as its affiliated amateur franchises – and unveiled a new team crest and kit. Oklahoma City FC is slated to join the NASL in 2015, along with another expansion franchise, the Jacksonville Armada. In 2014, Oklahoma City FC will also run the amateur teams in the men's National Premier Soccer League, as well as a women's team in the Women's Premier Soccer League.
Prodigal announced its franchise branding as the Oklahoma City Energy in November 2013. This gave Oklahoma City two approved franchises for future play: USL Pro's Energy starting in 2014, and NASL's Oklahoma City FC starting in 2015.
In March 2014, it was announced that one of the partners in Oklahoma City FC, Tim McLaughlin, had bought a 50% ownership stake in the rival franchise Oklahoma City Energy. Reportedly, McLaughlin controls the lease rights to Taft Stadium, and the Energy therefore announced its intention to move to Taft Stadium for the 2015 season, after its inaugural 2014 season at Bishop McGuinness High School's Pribil Stadium. Where this leaves Oklahoma City FC as an NASL franchise is unclear, although remaining owner Bob Lund indicated that this development "does not impact Oklahoma City FC’s or the NASL’s future in OKC."
A schedule and location for the 2014 season has yet to be announced. However, amateur games in 2013 took place at Stars Field at Oklahoma City University. It has been announced that for the 2015 season professional games will be played at Yukon's Miller Stadium and Academy games will be played at Oklahoma City's Casady School.
- Leonard, John (March 26, 2014). "NASL/USL PRO Battle for OKC Not Quite Finished". Reckless Challenge blog.
- Caban, Matt (July 22, 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: OKC NASL group planning to build riverfront 9K to 14K seat soccer-specific stadium". EastWord News.
- Tramel, Berry (July 3, 2013). "OKC's Soccer War needs one winner". The Oklahoman. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
- Evans, Murray (September 4, 2013). "Ball Control". The Oklahoman. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "NASL Board of Governors Unanimously Approves Expansion To Jacksonville And Oklahoma City". North American Soccer League. July 25, 2013.
- "Oklahoma City FC Unveils New Brand". www.oklahomacityfc.com. Oklahoma City FC. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- Brannick, Chris (March 25, 2014). "OKC businessman Tim McLaughlin joins Oklahoma City Energy FC as partner". The Oklahoman.
- Caban, Matt (July 20, 2013). "OKC FC men blitz Houston in PDL season finale". EastWord News.
- "Yukon says yes to hosting NASL in 2015".
- Caban, Matt (July 22, 2013). "OKC NASL group planning to build riverfront 9K to 14K seat soccer-specific stadium". Eastword News. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- Oklahoma City FC official site