Jacksonville Armada FC
|Full name||Jacksonville Armada
|Stadium||Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
|Head Coach||Tony Meola|
|League||North American Soccer League|
|Website||Club home page|
Jacksonville Armada FC are a professional soccer team based in Jacksonville, Florida. They play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), Division II in the American soccer pyramid, which they joined for the 2015 season. The Armada play their home games at Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in Downtown Jacksonville.
In May 2013, Jacksonville businessman Mark Frisch and former Major League Soccer player Darío Sala formed Sunshine Soccer Group with the intention of bringing professional soccer to Jacksonville. The effort was bolstered by several successful soccer matches held at EverBank Field, including two national team games that set records for international friendlies. The North American Soccer League invited the group to present a bid for a 2015 expansion team at their July 25, 2013 board meeting. The bid was accepted, and the NASL announced that Jacksonville and Oklahoma City FC would receive franchises for the 2015 season.
The organization has announced that Sala will serve as general manager, and former NFL Europe and Jacksonville Jaguars executive Steve Livingstone will serve as President. On February 18, 2014, the team announced its name would be Jacksonville Armada FC, and that its colors would be navy blue, royal blue, gold, and white. On June 11, 2014, the team announced it had hired former Argentine player José Luis Villarreal as its first head coach.
The team began playing in the 2015 NASL Spring season. After a few pre-season games in February and March, the club played its first league game, at home, on April 4, 2015, defeating FC Edmonton 3–1. On September 21, 2015, the club announced the dismissal of head coach Guillermo Hoyos, general manager Dario Sala and assistant coaches Edison Ibarra, Sebastian Fabres and Rafael Perez Nino. The Armada stood 11th and last in the North American Soccer League. The decision came just three months after the team had extended Hoyos' contract through the end of 2019. "Following an in-depth analysis of the team and operations, I am confident that a new direction is needed to turn around our team," Armada owner Mark Frisch said in a statement. Director of player development Eric Dade took over through the end of the 2015 NASL season.
On July 11, 2014, the Armada announced they would play their home games at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in Downtown Jacksonville for at least three seasons. They hope to later construct their own expandable soccer-specific stadium.
The team has also played games in EverBank Field, including their first exhibition game vs the Philadelphia Union, which set a modern-era NASL record for preseason attendance (13,934). It was also the site for their first regular season game, which was a 3–1 victory over FC Edmonton. That game set the modern era NASL record for regular season attendance (16,164).
The Coastal Cup was established in 2010 and was originally contested between the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies, but with Jacksonville's entry into the league, the competition has become triangular. The league has announced that beginning in the 2016 season a new Miami FC team will join the NASL. This addition would make the Coastal Cup a four team affair.
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||U.S. Open Cup||Avg. Attendance|
|Did not qualify||3rd Round||7,927|
Players and staff
As of February 5, 2016[update]
- José Luis Villarreal (2014–2015)
- Guillermo Hoyos (2015)
- Eric Dade (interim) (2015)
- Tony Meola (2015–present)
- "Community First secures title sponsor of Armada soccer pitch". http://www.bizjournals.com/. Jacksonville Business Journal. Retrieved March 23, 2015. External link in
- Freeman, Clayton (July 25, 2013). "Jacksonville awarded NASL team to begin play in 2015". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- "NASL Board of Governors Unanimously Approves Expansion To Jacksonville And Oklahoma City". North American Soccer League. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
- "Pro soccer coming to Jacksonville". Action News Jax. July 25, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Matt Soergel (September 9, 2013). "Jacksonville's new pro soccer team has big plans, much work to do". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Pepper, Cole (October 8, 2013). "Jaguars Steve Livingstone To Head New Jax Pro Soccer Team". news.wjct.org. WJCT. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- Soergel, Matt (February 18, 2014). "Jacksonville soccer team to be called the Jacksonville Armada FC". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved February 19, 2014. (subscription required (. ))
- "Villarreal named first head coach of Armada FC". Financial News & Daily Record. June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- "ARMADA FC 2015 SEASON TICKETS GO ON SALE STARTING AT JUST $10 PER MATCH". Jacksonville Armada FC. July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- "Soccer fans! Jacksonville Armada FC to play Baseball Grounds". The Florida Times-Union. July 11, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- "Armada FC sets preseason attendance record in 3–1 win over Union". Jacksonville Armada FC. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
- "FT | Armada FC 3, Eddies 1". North American Soccer League. Retrieved April 4, 2015.
- "Rowdies NASL: NASL Releases 2015 Fall Season Schedule". rowdiessoccer.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
- "MIAMI FC BECOMES 12TH NASL CLUB". NASL.com. May 20, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2015.