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AC St. Louis, Saint Louis Athletica On the Brink of Folding

 AC St. Louis, Saint Louis Athletica On the Brink of Folding

Athletic Club of Saint Louis is on the verge of folding its North American Soccer League and Women’s Professional Soccer clubs, sources have confirmed. The club’s weakened cash reserves may not allow them to make their next payroll obligations, and despite ongoing conversations amongst the United States Soccer Federation, NASL, and WPS, no plan is currently in place which will allow the teams to complete their 2010 seasons.

The situation came to light when AC St. Louis failed to make a regular payment to the NASL league office. Each club within NASL periodically sends money to the league office to cover the owner-operated league’s operating costs. Upon investigation, the NASL learned the Jeff Cooper-led group did not have the cash reserves to meet the obligation or its future operating expenses.

The United States Soccer Federation has been notified of the circumstances in St. Louis and is in contact with the NASL and WPS, attempting to find a solution that will allow the teams to continue through the 2010 season. As of Thursday afternoon, those attempts were ongoing.

AC St. Louis’s next payroll obligation comes due Friday, May 21. Efforts were being made as of Thursday afternoon to try and meet that obligation. According to sources, Saint Louis Athletica must meet payroll the following week.

AC St. Louis is prepared to fold its teams before the end of the season; however, in recognition of the importance of the St. Louis market and its teams, USSF has been working with the leagues to try and keep both clubs in operation.

Women’s Professional Soccer in continuing to monitor the state of Saint Louis Athletica; however, WPS was unavailable for comment at the time of this submission.

The North American Soccer League referred all requests regarding St. Louis to the USSF, otherwise declining comment on the story.

0 Responses to AC St. Louis, Saint Louis Athletica On the Brink of Folding

  1. Wait, I thought Jeff Cooper was considering an MLS bid at one point? I’m confused, I thought this was the most stable of the ownership groups other than the already MLS-bound teams.

    • First off, no team is “MLS bound”. The team has to cease to legally exist, before it can be absorbed by the MLS Borg.

      Secondly, without real pro/rel, they have to depend on tickling Donnie Football’s fancy to get absorbed into MLS, and pay $40 million for the complete loss of autonomy and ownership.

      • RedRover says:

        Blah, blah, blah, blah. I see you’re still wishing for the moon and a unicorn, douchebag. No wonder you’ve been banned from entering anything regarding MLS over at BigSoccer. Nobody would put up with your psychotic, anti-social behavior. Now you’ve found a new place to bore and annoy innocent readers with your bullshit. Get a life. Or better yet, move to South America, where you can enjoy all of your precious pro/rel you can handle.

    • sdfdsfdsfds says:

      Cooper does not own controlling interest of AC St. Louis anymore.

      Google Vaid brothers.

      No idea why this article doesn’t mention that rather significant little detail.

      • Richard says:

        Tom Timmerman reported after this story was submitted. In addition, I was not able to verify that before publishing it.

  2. Garrett says:

    Just don’t fold before the my beloved Rowdies come to town and take 3 points from STL. Then you can fold.

  3. Matthew N says:

    Um. Isn’t this the very first year these clubs have been in existence? I may be mistaken, so forgive me if so, but man… the “fit and proper” test in America must not be that much better than the one overseas. Embarrassing.

  4. Bobby says:

    Wow. Did Cooper have some cash tied up with Bernie Madoff or something? We heard for awhile that this was a steady ownership group with deep pockets, plans for a stadium even. Now this? Yikes.

    I feel bad for the fans in St. Louis, they’ve waited a long time to get professional soccer back and now both their men’s and women’s teams may be up a creek without a paddle here.

    Matthew, this is the first year for AC St. Louis, the women’s team, Athletica, is a founder member of WPS.

    • CoconutMonkey says:

      Yeah. They seemed real legit to me. I wonder what was going on behind the scenes.

    • sdfdsfdsfds says:

      Cooper does not own these teams anymore.

      From a news source ELSEWHERE since no one here seems to have a clue:

      “Athletica founder Jeff Cooper sold majority interest in the teams to the Vaid brothers, Sanjeev and Heemal, of London last fall and Heemal has been overseeing the team’s day-to-day operations since December. The severity of the financial problems is unclear, and the funding situation is said to be fluid. Cooper has resumed active involvement in the team’s financial dealings.”

      So these Vaid idiots don’t know how to run a team’s finances and Cooper has to come back in to say the day. I hope Cooper put some kind of failure performance penalty clause in the sale contract or can sue for breach of contract so he can take control back from these Vaid incompetents.

      • Richard says:

        I think it’s becoming clear that this optimistic view, while well-intentioned, is not quite right.

        Additionally, I would caution people to think about the different uses, implications of the term “owner.”

  5. Dan says:

    That’s pathetic. It’s no surprise about WPS, but AC St Louis, i thought everyone claimed that St Louis was the next great MLS city, I guess Garber knew more than we gave him credit.

    I still can’t believe WPS even started. Why would a women’s league succeed if even the MLS hasn’t taken off yet? Heck the NBA is a powerhouse and the WNBA barely holds on…

  6. Rasin says:

    I thought they were going show ever one they were the real Soccer City USA folding mid season only show they are a joke and proves Don Garber was right about them

  7. Callerons says:

    How is it the fans faut that the team owners don’t have the money, Rasin.

  8. southsidered says:

    Don’t blame St. Louis for this garbage. Blame the owners. We’ve supported AC just fine so far this year. And we’re just as pissed as anybody to find out our ownership group was blowing smoke.

    • St. Louis, like a hundred other cities, deserve a shot at the bigs, not a shot at schmoozing Don Garber. There is no country on the planet more ready for pro/rel. There is also no country on the planet that coddles, entitles, and sucks up to pro sports owners every request for payouts, protections, and pathetic schemes like the single entity.

      A group of former NFL executives is calling the shots for soccer. Putting Don Garber in charge of who can buy a first division soccer club is like putting Britney Spears in charge of who can get a recording contract at Columbia.

  9. Bob Dobalina says:

    Heh. And the St. Louis guys were complaining when Garber didn’t give Cooper the time of day during the MLS expansion contest. Looks like MLS knew what they were doing and exactly who Cooper was.

    • If Cooper made a mistake, it was putting all his eggs in a basket for MLS to judge. It’ll only take a couple of them to stand up for what’s right, promotion, relegation and independent clubs, instead of a contest of “who can tickle Don Garber where it counts”.

  10. Lars Lowther says:

    Truly disappointing, and a disaster for the game in the US.

    NASL should have done a better job vetting the ownership…and if he has the money and is refusing to pay…well, that’s what lawsuits are for.

    • It’s been happening here for over a hundred years. Leagues fight. Clubs are casualties. And with a USSF President that is a real life, paid of lackey for MLS, nothings gonna change their world.

  11. Jason says:

    That’s funny. All I remember is fanboys telling us that MLS was making a huge mistake not giving Cooper a team, that Nike selling USL to NuRock instead of Cooper was a huge mistake, that Cooper was the man, Cooper was this, Cooper was that. AC St. Louis signed Steve Ralston to a contract that was “competitive” with what he had been making in MLS. Blah blah blah blah.

    It should surprise no one that the fanboys were wrong.

  12. Jason says:

    Oh, and how would this be “a disaster for the game in the US,” exactly?

    Why is it that no matter what happens, some bright boy chimes in about how many decades this sets the game back in this country, how we’ll never recover, the same thing every time.

    Well teams have been folding or rumored to be folding or near folding in this country’s various leagues forever. It’s just the way it is. Sucks, but “disaster” is putting it too strongly.

  13. dan says:

    Im starting to think that the USSF should just keep control of the D2 and just let the NASL and USL run the conferences. St. Louis showed a good fan base for D2 so it would make sense for the USSF to intervine.

  14. Sean says:

    “Disaster is putting it too strongly?”

    Cooper is the leading force behind NASL. Cooper is the Interim Commissioner of NASL. Cooper claimed all the NASL teams were strong. Cooper sold the USL teams that were on the fence and convinced them to move to NASL.

    All of this was smoke and mirrors, all of the NASL statements by Cooper were lies.

    You look at the leader of an organization, you find the character of that organization. In this case, nothing but lies and garbage.

  15. MLS vultures are circling, Big Soccer decepticons are salivating. An NASL team is going down. Just the latest in a long line of predatory league BS that has been going on since the 1920s. Hundreds of clubs have fallen victim to our closed league nonsense, While pro rel conquered the rest of the soccer world.

    But it just keeps going. Will ACSTL join the closed league RIP list?

    Atlanta Apollos
    Atlanta Chiefs
    Caribous of Colorado
    Baltimore Bays
    Boston Beacons
    Boston Minutemen
    Memphis Rogues
    Chicago Mustangs
    California Surf
    St. Louis Stars
    Chicago Sting
    Cleveland Stokers
    Dallas Tornado
    Detroit Cougars
    Hartford Bicentennials
    Connecticut Bicentennials
    Oakland Stompers
    Houston Stars
    Houston Hurricane
    Jacksonville Tea Men
    New England Tea Men
    Kansas City Spurs
    Los Angeles Wolves
    Los Angeles Aztecs
    Minnesota Strikers
    Washington Darts
    Philadelphia Stoners
    Miami Gators
    Miami Toros
    Fort Lauderdale Strikers
    Minnesota Kicks
    Denver Dynamos
    Philadelphia Fury
    New York Generals
    New York Cosmos
    Oakland Clippers
    Philadelphia Atoms
    Rochester Lancers
    San Diego Toros
    San Diego Sockers
    Baltimore Comets
    San Diego Jaws
    Las Vegas Quicksilvers
    Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Team America
    Tulsa Roughnecks
    San Antonio Thunder
    Team Hawaii
    Washington Whips
    Washington Diplomats
    Detroit Express
    Bethlehem Steel F.C.
    Philadelphia Field Club
    Boston Wonder Workers
    Boston Bears
    Bridgeport Hungaria
    Brooklyn Wanderers
    Brooklyn Hakoah
    New York Hakoah
    Hakoah All-Stars
    Brooklyn Wanderers
    Fall River Marksmen
    Fall River United
    New York Soccer Club
    Fall River F.C.
    Providence Clamdiggers
    Providence Gold Bugs
    Fall River Football Club
    Fleisher Yarn
    Hakoah All-Stars
    New York Hakoah
    Brooklyn Hakoah
    Harrison Field Club
    Harrison Soccer Club
    Hartford Americans
    Holyoke Falcos
    Jersey City Celtics
    Newark Skeeters
    Newark Americans
    New Bedford Whalers
    New York Field Club
    Paterson Silk Sox
    Indiana Flooring
    New York Nationals
    New York Americans
    New York Field Club
    New York Brookhattan
    Pawtucket Rangers
    J&P Coats
    Philadelphia Celtic
    Philadelphia Field Club
    Bridgeport Bears
    Queens Bohemians
    Shawsheen Indians
    Springfield Babes
    Todd Shipyards

  16. Robert says:

    It is sad to see AC St. Louis possibly go bankrupt especially since people have been singing such high praises for the area. People not going to the game is not the only problem with soccer in this country there just isn’t enough revenue to support it. MLS keeps its books closed for a reason and I don’t see how any of these operations are going to turn a profit for the next 30 years. With high long term debt loads and slim to negative operating margins i feel once again, even with a salary cap, MLS and professional soccer is going to disappear on the American Landscape.

    • soccerreform says:

      I’m sick of MLS celebrating the demise of other leagues, while imposing mediocrity on their own league so that American sports owners can maintain their closed league entitelments. The only thing standing between us and the soccer nation we are poised to be is MLS.

      It’s complete and total SHITE.

      • Cavan says:

        Do you ever make sense?

        • Sense? MLS gets one catv viewer for every twenty five WWE gets. ABC averaged ten times that many viewers for NASL broadcasts in 1980.
          More Americans watched World Cup 06 than World Series or NBA Finals matches.

          MLS makes absolutely NO sense. Yet they dictate everything.

          You sensing this?

        • Thanks Dave. Revel in the death of the 142nd American soccer club at the hands of idiotic infighting. Ever notice it only happens here? Connection? Correlation? I hate to stretch the bounds of reason and all. I know it’s like alien abduction.

  17. Miami Ultra says:

    Terrible news for NASL, Division 2, and soccer in general. I really hope that somebody steps in and helps keep AC St. Louis afloat, not only for this season, but for the long term.

    I guess Cooper wasn’t all that after all, and MLS was right to keep him out. I feel so bad for St. Louis fans. Pushed aside time and time again by MLS and now, not even halfway through their first pro season in 30 some years, this. Stay strong STL!!

    • a hundred investors would jump in to save the club if they had a shot at promotion. St. Louis gets pro/rel. Instead, it’s all about impressing MLS.

      • Gazza says:

        Are those the same investors who did not materialize when Cooper & MLS went all over the world trying to find someone to help Coopers’ expansion bid?

        They had a chance at promotion. They didn’t have investors. End of story.

        • A shot at promotion:

          Putting together a club in a soccer city like St. Louis that can rise through quality of play to compete with the best in the country, the region, and the world.

          A shot at expansion:

          An investment group who can pay $40 million to join a league that imposes mediocrity on it’s own clubs, and suck up enough to get the entitled NFL star chamber to give you a nod, including Star Commander Bob Kraft, who pays off Sunil Gulati every month.

          Which is less nauseating?

        • European investors have always been lukewarm about MLS. Most know crap when they see it. RBNY? Yes, when we get this single entity out of the way, they have a foothold in the cradle of American soccer. After that, traditional euro soccer investors may as well invest in a Chuck E. Cheeses. They have about as much room to build a team as chuck E. does.

  18. whatisacstlouis says:

    I’m from St. Louis and have never heard of AC St. Louis. How can you give a team a chance when you don’t know it exists?

    • southsidered says:

      So wait: you’re from St. Louis, and apparently a soccer fan, and yet have somehow managed to avoid the Soccer section on StL Today, and the sports section of the Post where AC has run several print ads, and all of the FSC matches and Cardinals games where they’ve run commercials, and the BigSoccer and StLsoccer.net message boards, AND all of the stories on this site about the NASL and AC St. Louis? How do you expect to know a team exists if you’re not paying any attention to any soccer media?

      • St. Louis is a major league city. MLS is a major ponzi scheme. With a shot at performance based promotion, that club not only draws crowds, buzz and makes money, it gains value.

        Under our system, promotion is based on titillating Donnie Garber, and then giving him $40 million for the privilege.

        Which system draws crowds? Anyone? Bueller?

  19. stlouisultrasux says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    I am so loving this! This is proof positive that St. Louis is NOT a soccer town and that they should never be allowed to have a major professional soccer team ever again! Don Garber was so money in treating the Eads Brigade crybabies like the scumbag parasites they are. Now maybe we can have real soccer towns represented at the highest level possible, like Miami and New York and Las Vegas.

    YOU HEAR ME ST. LOUIS?!! STAY THE BLEEP AWAY FROM OUR MLS, OR ELSE!!!!

    • Soccer towns like Kansas City! Columbus! MLS, stay away from American soccer. Lets have FMF come north, and send MLS to the Great White North.

      Vegas baby. Vegas.

      Please, God, save us from imposed mediocrity, randomized outcome soccer. No wonder Vegas likes it. It’s kinda like a friggin slot machine.

  20. reform.us vs. stlouisultrasux says:

    I hope you 2 meet up and fight. I’ll chip in for the airfare so you two can meet and settle this 1 on 1.

  21. Stopthehateraid says:

    The guys bashing St. Louis obviously is a punk kid. Grow up.

  22. sdfdsfdsfds says:

    I did a search and didn’t see any mention in this article or comments section about the Vaid brothers, to whom Cooper sold controlling interest. Cooper doesn’t own AC St. Louis or Athletica St. Louis, if I understand correctly reading about this news ELSEWHERE.

    That’s right: the Vaid brothers, some dodgy characters from the UK. They are the reason things are so screwed up in St. Louis right now. Blame them.

    If you want to blame Cooper for something, blame him for selling control to these Vaid idiots.

    • Richard says:

      As mentioned above, the timing of Tom Timmerman’s reporting compared to the timing of this post explains that. In addition, I would caution against using the word “own” too liberally.

  23. The guys bashing St. Louis obviously is a punk kid. Grow up.

  24. It’s been happening here for over a hundred years. Leagues fight. Clubs are casualties. And with a USSF President that is a real life, paid of lackey for MLS, nothings gonna change their world.

  25. come on, MLS is having enough trouble broadening demographic base without these kooky comments.

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