Oklahoma City FC (NASL)
|Owner||Sold Out Strategies|
|League||North American Soccer League|
Oklahoma City FC was a proposed American professional Men's soccer team to be based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They were scheduled to join the North American Soccer League (NASL) – Division II in the American soccer pyramid – beginning with the 2015 season. The organization also fielded an amateur team in the National Premier Soccer League and currently fields a women's team in the Women's Premier Soccer League.
In March 2014, OKC FC co-owner Tim McLaughlin purchased fifty percent stock in the USL-PRO team Oklahoma City Energy FC.
On November 10, 2015, the NASL announced that a new club called Rayo OKC would begin play in the 2016 season. The new team is majority-owned by Raúl Martín Presa, the owner of Rayo Vallecano then of La Liga, with a minority stake owned by Oklahoma native Sean Jones. Rayo OKC is managed by the former owners of Oklahoma City FC franchise, Sold Out Strategies.
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 Division III USL Pro, Oklahoma City FC instead concentrated on obtaining an expansion franchise in the Division II 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 was 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, 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. Remaining owner Brad Lund indicated that this development "does not impact Oklahoma City FC’s or the NASL’s future in OKC."
In an interview published on August 10, 2015, NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson told the Telegraph that the league had moved on from the franchises in Virginia and Oklahoma. On August 21, 2015 ESPN's Dermot Corrigan reported that La Liga, the first division in Spain, had given approval for one of their teams to purchase stock in Oklahoma City FC. La Liga team Rayo Vallecano has expressed interest in purchasing majority stock in NASL Oklahoma City FC. If the purchase goes through, it could make Rayo the first La Liga club to become a majority owner in a U.S. pro soccer team. On November 10, 2015, the NASL announced the new team as Rayo OKC to begin play in 2016.
Amateur games in 2013 took place at Stars Field at Oklahoma City University. It was 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.
- "NASL ANNOUNCES NEW CLUB IN OKLAHOMA CITY". NASL. November 10, 2015.
- 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.
- Williams, Bob. "NASL commissioner Bill Peterson vows to 'take action' to introduce promotion and relegation in North America". Retrieved August 10, 2015.
- "La Liga chief backs Rayo Vallecano NASL investment proposal – ESPN FC". ESPNFC.com. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
- 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