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USL Sale Complete: Reporters Notebook’s……Owners Upset (UPDATED 5:30 PM MONDAY)



USL announced Thursday afternoon, Nurock Soccer Holdings LLC has purchased the USL from Umbro/Nike.

Brian Quarstad of Inside Minnesota Soccer and Major League Soccer Talk are currently working on the story……and will update the story as warranted.

We are aware that the sale to Nurock is a shock to many including some owners in the league. It’s widely known that Traffic FC along with a current USL-1 owners group made a bid for league but did not win that bid. However, that same owners group led by Aaron Davidson of Miami FC and Selby Wellman owner of the Carolina Railhawks, have been unhappy with Marcos and Executive VP of USL Tim Holt. We had been informed by multiple ownership sources, that Davidson and Wellman were working with another group who were in the due diligence stage after winning the bid from Nike. The other group who had reportedly won the bid was not either Nurock or Traffic.

The comments in the press release from Francisco Marcos, Founder and President of United Soccer Leagues are telling. The comments from Marcos could mean that the newly announced owners, Nurock, have a current relationship with USL executives Holt and Marcos. If this is true, the league owners will have some very difficult decisions to make this winter unless of course they are able to form a relation with Nurock executives Rob Hoskins and Alec Papadakis. The ownership group has been pushing for more visibility and aggressive marketing of USL.

Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald reports that Miami FC could shut its doors because of this move and also reports that the Minnesota Thunder and Carolina Railhawks were believed to be part of Traffic Sports bid.

Another telling sign of a possible relationship between Nurock and USL executives can be gathered from Papadakis statement in the press release:

“Together with USL Management, we are excited about the opportunity to grow the size and visibility of USL, and to help develop and train the future generations of soccer athletes in the United States,” said Alec Papadakis, CEO of NuRock Soccer Holdings.


Inside Minnesota Soccer has spoken with Tim Holt, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for USL. Holt was asked about a third party who supposedly had won the bid from Nike and was in the due diligence stage when NuRock was announced as the owner. Holt said that USL management has been aware of all the groups that made bids but denied having inside information on the individual bids. Holt did admit that Nike had consulted with USL officials in what the League was looking for in terms of a new owner.

“I can’t tell you how exactly we got here in regard to Nike’s sale of the league,” said Holt. “That’s all I can do is talk about the present and future.”

When asked about prior knowledge of the NuRock group and a possible USL relationship with the group, Holt said that you can’t read too much into the press release. “We’re familiar with all the groups that made bids for the league,” said Holt. “Some were from outside the league and others from inside the league. But we’re familiar with them all. Are we familiar with Rob Hoskins and Alec Papadakis from NuRock?  Yes, and we have respect from the NuRock people in what we’ve accomplished at USL. Have we done everything perfectly and is there room for improvement? Of course there is and I’m sure there will be some changes made.”

Holt was asked about the terms of the new deal with NuRock and the franchise that was awarded to Hoskins for a USL-1 team in Atlanta. Boris Jerkunica was the former owner of the Atlanta Silverbacks and withdrew from the league last fall after being unhappy with the current USL management. Jerkunica was also concerned about an MLS franchise moving to the Atlanta area which had been rumored at that time. Sources had told IMS and MLS Talk that a team could withdraw from the league for a year and then return since they still owned a franchise. Holt refuted those sources.

“There’s no leave of absence clause,” stated Holt. “Each franchise must recommit annually and compete in every season.  If they do not, then they do not retain their franchise rights.” When asked about the $750,000.00 franchise fee, Holt said there are original franchise fees and annual league dues as well. “The franchise acquisition fee is not refundable.  If you withdraw from the league, we reserve the right to re-sell the territory to another group,” said Holt.

The Atlanta Silverbacks were assumed from the Atalanta Ruckus in 1998. The Ruckus had entered into the A-League in 1995.

Holt was asked if he had talked to the new owners about any specific changes that might happen in the league. He said that it was too early for that and USL had just received final word of the sale themselves. He also stated that the league will be very busy the next several months as the new owners take their place and the league works to prepare for next season.


IMS and MLS Talk confirm that several USL-1 owners were caught off guard by the news of the sale to NuRock.These owners were infomed via press release or word of mouth rather than formally by Nike or USL’s office in Tampa.

It is confirmed that the owners were working as recently as Wednesday with another US based group that was working with Nike on completing the acquisition of the USL. This group is very involved in American soccer circles, and were favored by these same owners to take over the league.

As always this, is an unfolding story and we will continue to bring you the latest.

7:00 AM Saturday Update

Inside Minnesota Soccer and MLS Talk have been continuing to gather information concerning the story of the USL to NuRock. We hoped to bring you that story Monday morning and planned on including the name of the 3rd party who had made the highest bid to Nike. That party was awarded the bid several weeks ago and was in the final stages of the due diligence period when told that USL had suddenly been sold to NuRock Soccer Holdings

IMS and Major League Soccer Talk plan on bringing you a detailed story on Monday morning. For now we will tell you that the Third Party was Jeff Cooper of St. Louis.

Cooper, a very respected name in the Midwest soccer scene had joined forces with a number of other investors. It’s been said that Cooper was still in contact with Nike lawyers as late as Wednesday afternoon and there was no hint of trouble in the negotiations. Several sources who did not want to go on record stated that Cooper was stunned to hear that the USL had been sold to NuRock.

The USL owners group had been working closely with Cooper the last several weeks after he was announced as the high bidder by Nike. It was also reported that Cooper was within a day or two of completing the transaction and Nike gave him no warning of this 11th hour switch.

We have also learned that there were no attempts from the USL front office to contact any of USL-1 owners, notifying them of the sale of the league. Most of those USL owners found out about the sale to NuRock on Thursday through the same press release that was sent out to the general public and published on the USL website.



As IMS and MLS Talk have been reporting since Thursday, the majority of USL-1 owners are uncomfortable with the sale of the league to NuRock. This evening the Owners Association has released the following to the press:


Atlanta, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Montreal, St. Louis, Tampa and Vancouver
to Aggressively Explore all Options for Future

August 31, 2009. Following extensive negotiations with USISL, Inc., the parent company of the United Soccer Leagues (USL), to restructure the USL First Division (USL-1) into a league owned and controlled by its teams, the Team Owners Association (TOA) today announced that it has accelerated its pursuit of all league options for the 2010 season and beyond.  The TOA, led by the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis Soccer United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps, reached this decision following the announcement by Nike, Inc., the parent company of USISL, Inc., that it had concluded the sale of USL to a third-party (NuRock Soccer Holdings) which does not own a team in USL-1.

The TOA has been and remains committed to a restructuring of USL-1 into a truly professional soccer league which complies with the international rules established by FIFA, the governing body of international soccer.  These rules include the requirement that the league be owned and controlled by its teams.  Despite this rule, USL has historically been owned by a single corporate entity responsible for, among other things, league governance.  The TOA believes that this ownership structure has stunted the growth and recognition of both the league and its teams during USL’s nearly 25-year existence.  Consequently, over the past several years, the TOA has engaged in discussions with the owners of USL to restructure USL and is therefore extremely disappointed with Nike’s decision to sell USL to a non-USL-1 team owner.  Accordingly, the TOA now reconfirms its commitment to achieving a team-owner controlled league and will pursue all avenues to do so.

“The TOA and its teams thank the fans, media, coaches and players for their unconditional support and patience as we explore all options for the future,” stated Selby Wellman, majority owner of the Carolina RailHawks and spokesperson for the TOA.  “The teams are confident that this process will lead to decisions and changes that are essential for the further growth of soccer in our respective markets and throughout North America.”

About TOA

The TOA was formally established in January 2008. Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Montreal and Vancouver are all playing in USL-1 this season, but have not recommitted to USL-1 for 2010. Atlanta withdrew from USL-1 after the 2008 season due to the continuing uncertainties of the negotiation and restructuring of USL.  Tampa is scheduled to begin playing in USL-1 in 2010. St. Louis Soccer United, owner of the St. Louis Athletica in WPS, is committed to establishing a men’s professional team.  Notwithstanding the fact that Vancouver will be joining MLS in 2011, the Vancouver ownership group is committed to playing in 2010 and to exploring establishing a team in another market for 2011 and beyond.

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  1. Silverbacks Battery

    September 1, 2009 at 9:33 am

    This is heart wrenching stuff, Kartik. Can Holt and Marcos talk Atlanta, Miami, Montreal and Carolina, the clear ring leaders back into the fold.

    Markets like Rochester and Charleston cannot survive in some sort of super league that has clear D1 ambitions against the likes of a Atlanta or Miami which are HUGE markets. It would be the Premier League all over again, and in that eveyone loses.

    Also, to the MLS fans above who insult us, it’s amazing that you know zero about USL but we are constantly told we must watch and support MLS even if we are nowhere near a team for the good of the game, yet these same people do not even know the structure in their own country. PATHETIC.

  2. Jason Toon

    September 1, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Non-soccer fans have no idea the USL, or even MLS, exists.

    If USL brass thinks they can run a league without consulting the teams, well, they’re about to find out that nobody’s gonna buy a ticket to watch Tim Holt.

  3. Derek

    September 1, 2009 at 4:42 am

    To the non-soccer fans in this country this looks very bad and unstable. I hope this will not be a major blackeye for the sport in this country.

  4. Daniel Feuerstein

    September 1, 2009 at 3:08 am

    It’s interesting that many people are afraid of the USL that they want them to shut down. I’m not afraid of the USL, we need the USL. Just like the Premiership needs the Championship Football Leagues 1 & 2. Where will all the players go to if MLS clubs won’t use them.

    If majority of the USL-1 clubs leave and form their own league, Marcos would look like a fool and USL-2 would become USL-1 with the few that will remain like Charleston, FC New York & Rochester.

    Amazing that Tampa Bay Rowdies have joined this group and FC New York has decided to stay with Marcos, because they are too afraid of not having a home when they enter to expand USL-1. It goes to show you that the Rowdies ownership group has seen the light.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      September 1, 2009 at 7:38 am

      Keep an eye on FC New York, Daniel. I have reason to believe they may be joining the group sooner or later.

  5. soccer goals

    August 31, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I hoope that they move in the right direction.

  6. Vnice

    August 31, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    I guess all second and third tier leagues around the world should just fold. Fuck anyone trying to make a living playing soccer anywhere who can’t quite cut it in the top flight. They’re out of a job. Fuck ’em all. While we’re at it…fuck American soccer.

    CIRE< you're a complete tool.

  7. OL

    August 31, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    This is terrible news guys. I wish these owners would have waited before pulling the trigger.

  8. Harry

    August 31, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    CIRE 55,

    You are a fool, and besides, USL has something like 120 teams, not 11.

    If the whole USL structure collapses what happens next?

    Carolina, Miami, Montreal and the other ring leaders of this must be held accountable if USL goes down.

    Then again, maybe USL will wise up and make a compromise with these guys. They need to start talking again.

  9. CIRE 55

    August 31, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    YES! YES! YES!

    8 of 11 USL teams leaving. A three team league and an 8 team league, both of which will fail.

    Poor Kartik will shut down this site rather than cover MLS, the only true league that should exist in this country. These teams should either go to MLS are be forced down to the Amateur leagues.

    USL should not exist.

  10. Florida Goal

    August 31, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    I wish this day could have been avoided. USL’s owners wanted it all, and Marcos/Holt wanted to control it all. A happy medium could have kept the league structure, so vital to American soccer at all levels together. Now it looks dire.

  11. JMB321

    August 31, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    These kind of developments are the type that caused the relegation of association football to tertiary status in American sports during the early part of the 20th century.

    Competition is a good thing. The fact that there are competing visions of how the sport should be structured is a positive sign of the growing passion for soccer in this country. And this is a passion that is now supported by investors with the management and financial capability to improve the status of the sport here.

    Unfortunately, this potential conflict may cause damage to the evolving status of pro soccer. It won’t kill the sport but it is certainly has the potential of making it less accessible.

  12. Bobby

    August 31, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    So, the Silverbacks do still exist. Interesting.

    I assume we can take to thinking of Vancouver as Victoria, that’d be somewhat logical after their move to MLS in 2011.

    With Cleveland’s future up in the air, that leaves who? Austin, Charleston, New York (which looks to be a disaster waiting to happen), and Puerto Rico to make up the USL First Division if the TOA bolts?

  13. Jason Toon

    August 30, 2009 at 11:07 am

    “Work something out to keep the league together”? How about selling the league to the highest bidder and the one who had the support of the owners? This desperate move by Marcos is going to backfire when he doesn’t have a league to rule over anymore.

  14. Daniel Feuerstein

    August 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Marcos knew his rear end was on its way out and it got saved big time.

  15. Darren

    August 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I still do not know why USL must exist at all. Thankfully, this sale was made. It’s been said on some other message boards that Cooper wanted to challenge MLS in MLS markets and go August to May. From my perspective, if he had done that the USSF should have thrown the league out of FIFA. August to May calenders MUST be rejected. Any league that attempts to play on that schedule should not be sanctioned. Secondly, USL already is a problem. What they do, MLS can do, but only better with the marketing might of one of the world’s top leagues behind it.

    Develop players?
    MLS does it better than anyone in the world

    Market the game?
    MLS does it better

    Partner with Youth Soccer?
    MLS does it better

    Build new Stadiums?
    MLS does it, USL doesn’t.

    Get on TV? MLS is on TV alot and has lots of viewers, more than any foreign league

    I see no reason for the USSF continue the facade. Fold USL into MLS and get on with the business of making us the best soccer nation in the world.

    • Matt

      August 29, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      MLS have more TV viewers “than any foriegn league”? Where in the world are you coming up with that misinformation? MLS isn’t even the #1 watched league in the US.

  16. Roger

    August 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Gitecmo- Tampa Bay and NY join the league next year. USL-1 will be fine unless the current teams that are disaffected bolt.

    Florida is a soccer hotbed, by the way. Do you realize what percentage of national team pool players have either grown up or lived in Florida during their formative years? It may not be a pro soccer hotbed, but it is without a doubt one of the big hotbeds of youth soccer.

  17. Gitecmo

    August 29, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Wait a minute, Miamo FC may fold?!

    I thought Florida was a soccer hotbed?

    If Montreal moves to MLS (which is rumored to heppened), then what will be left of USL 1? Will Charleston, Carolina, Puerto Rico and Minnesota are strong enough to carry a league without markets in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver and Montreal? I doubt it.

    If MLS creates a second division at some point, remaining USL 1 teams will come running.

  18. Roger

    August 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Good work, and I am curious as everyone else to discover the fallout. How long until we know the actual fallout? A month, or the offseason?

  19. eplnfl

    August 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    JMB, interesting thought.

    My question of Kartik is that at this point in time can we say if the USL will operate as true Divsion 1, 2, etc. to MLS.

  20. JMB321

    August 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

    USL is a classic franchising entity which abides by various state franchise laws similar to a Dunkin Donuts or UPS Stores. The league does not own the franchises but mandates certain minimum standards be followed in order to participate in the league and “use” the brand. The franchises are separate entities that can operate independently once their agreements have ended.

    If there is sufficient disenchantment by some of the stronger franchises to the new ownership, another league may be on the horizon. The new league will need to be recognized as a second division by the USSF. It sounds like Jeff Cooper may have the financial wherewithal, soccer background and contacts to make that happen.

    Should be an interesting next few weeks.

  21. Larro

    August 29, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Will this be the impetus to finally start MLS2?

  22. Jim

    August 29, 2009 at 8:47 am

    It may be that Nike went with the Nurock group because they had a better sponsorship offer along with the bid for the league. ???

  23. Bobby

    August 29, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Quick question for all: what is in it for Nike to sell to an assumed lower bider just to protect USL-1’s staff? Was it because of an exclusive marketing contract, or more than that?

  24. Amazed

    August 29, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I can back up this story. The owners of my local team was supposedly totally caught off guard by the press release. No attempt to contact them was made and then the Railhawks showed up in a Miami Herald story as part of Traffic Sports bid, but I know they were working with the buyer you have revealed as Jeff Cooper, I believe even on Thursday, the day the sale was announced.

    Crazy stuff. Unethical for sure and a bad reflection on USL as a league.

  25. Larry

    August 29, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Let me ask a basic question, Kartik…….why in the USL structure can the owners not block a sale? In most situations owners vote on things- even the DP rule in MLS was owner driven.

    USL seems to be a top down organization.

  26. Jim

    August 29, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Austin FC had advance knowledge of the move by a few hours. They were going to have an press conference for the pitch for next year (House field, Yes!) and canceled it since the USL press release was at the same time.
    You had written several times over the last few months that you had knowledge of the sale and who the owners were. Was Cooper the owner and was he the one that told you about the sale?

  27. Mark

    August 29, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Kartik, some good reporting but follow the trail a little more. Why did Nike shift gears and not sell to Cooper and instead sell to NuRock? If you think logically and press your sources a little more, you’ll get the answer that I suspect and that we should all fear. Conflicts of Interest are abound in US Soccer and how this played out is yet another example. Good work, but you and IMS aren’t quite there yet.

  28. whitestarw

    August 29, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Ok about the USL sale..what do you think?

    $60 million 80? 100?

  29. USA actually IS better

    August 28, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Your soccer may have been better 2 nights ago but your country is sh*t…also can’t wait to see the whining from Mexican fans in 8 days when you get your azz kicked in Costa Rica.

    • Lars

      August 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm

      I can’t wait for Mexico to get knocked out of World Cup Qualifying. It’s exciting. The giants go to minnows…

      • Mexico is WAY better

        August 29, 2009 at 8:18 pm

        How’s Canada doing in the hex? Oh wait…

        Mexicans are superior to white people in every way. Better football, culture and quality of life. And I guarantee you we will do better in Saprissa than usgay did.

  30. Mexico is WAY better

    August 28, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Funny how there’s no article on the CCL this week. Where your teams got absolutely detroyed. HAHAHA!! Your league is worthless garbage.

    • Rex

      August 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm

      Pachuca looked great in Panama. Who loses 4-1 to Arabe Unido?

  31. Dustin

    August 27, 2009 at 11:39 pm


    Are you going to spend some extra time on this topic for you podcast? Would love to hear a good show with reactions, the sale, etc.

  32. Bobby

    August 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Reading more into it, it seems Alec Papadakis was President of Augusta FireBall United, a PDL team that played in 2005 and 2006, they averaged 600 and 426 each year playing at from what I can best tell is a County park then suddenly folded after reaching the conference semi-finals. Alec’s son, Justin, was the goalkeeper for Augusta, he played college soccer for Duke and apparently Marist at one point.

  33. vic

    August 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    i’m guessing the bottom two from this attendance list are out ( ). Note how the two above Mia & Clev have had attendances of 5k, showing strong potential. I wonder if expansion would occur within the organization (such as Ventura becoming USL1) or just to anyone with dough (like MLS). I hope USL1 goes for MLS’s jugular. In the land of the free, we’ve learned that competition only makes the market stronger. I’d like to see USL1 with 12-14 teams that span from Edmonton to Quebec to Martinique/Guadelope to Ventura… continental-wide

  34. Bobby

    August 27, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    It seems like we’re in for a very, very interesting off season. You can bet the NPSL is keeping an eye on this.

    • Wicket T. Ewok

      August 28, 2009 at 1:55 pm

      At least they are growing. According to the NPSL Wikipedia page (yeah…I know) they are adding fourteen teams next year.

      With a team friendly league structure already in place, the NPSL could add a ready-made pro league by providing an alternative for a group of disgruntled USL-1 and 2 teams.

      Not that this would EVER happen, of course.

  35. Uncle Ed

    August 27, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Kartik, maybe you can also interview Aaron Davidson and get his reactions to all this.
    Like Pieter, I’m concerned that this will mean the end of Miami FC.

  36. JMB321

    August 27, 2009 at 7:52 pm


    Believe it is OK in a blog to make subjective assessments.

    I concur that Tim Holt is a fine administrator and outstanding soccer visionary, particularly in light of some the inherent restraints and obstacles the league has on its own potential.

  37. Jeph

    August 27, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Why is it that people concerned with Miami FC blame the league and not their own club for the promotion of their team? How is this the league’s concern? Why does anyone think that Traffic, in all their infinite wisdom in building a team, have a better strategy for this league?

    When a team is resorting to a head shaving promotion and can barely draw over 1000 a game over the course of a number of years in a city like Miami, the blame goes to the club. Blame put on the league for the Blues failure is unfounded and if this is the end of that club, I don’t know that many would notice anyway.

  38. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    August 27, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Again, I have not voiced an opinion. Certain club owners do not see eye to eye about the direction of the league with Tim Holt. I know what the price of what was apparently a losing bid was, but will try and get the information about the winning bid.

    I should also note that from my personal experience, Tim Holt has more vision than 99.5% of the people in powerful positions within US Soccer, so if that reflects some bias of mine, so be it.

  39. Jason

    August 27, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Do you know what the purchase price was ? If anybody could find out it would be you.”

    Yeah, if ANYBODY could find out, it would be Kartik. Please. If he was a great reporter, we’d have heard about this before now, (a) and there’d be more information in this post than is currently readily available, (b ).

    And I’m guessing nobody remembers how disorganized USL was before Holt. If you’re making him out to be part of the problem…well….you’re misinformed.

  40. JM

    August 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    USL needs only two leagues if it is going to survive: a pro league (combination of USL1 and USL2) and a semi pro league (PDL). They should scrap the W-league and youth leages altogether. Those three leagues should really be the responsibility of the USSF.

    They really need to find 12 viable clubs for a pro league (soon there will be 19 between USL1 and USL2), and then drop the rest into the PDL (regional competition only).

  41. JMB321

    August 27, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I see no change in titles in either the press release or the USL league officials website listing. Assume that was a transcription error or typo and not a change in management…

  42. Pieter Brown

    August 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    As a Miami FC fan, I’m concerned. If NuRock is buddy buddy with Holt and Marcos then will we really see any change for the better? Not sure. And will Miami FC stick around with this new regime or just fold up shop? I’m very worried right now.

  43. Shanks and Paisley

    August 27, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I sure hope 9-0 losing, under 1000 attendance, resorting to head shaving promotions Miami FC doesn’t fold!

  44. sal

    August 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Do you know what the purchase price was ? If anybody could find out it would be you.

  45. JMB321

    August 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Note that Tim Holt is the Executive VP of USL NOT Senior Director of Franchise Development.

    With which league management officials besides Marcos are the owner’s dissatisfied and more importantly why?

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      August 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm

      Yeah, we were trying to figure out why his title appeared to change today.

      It’s just Marcos and Holt and it is about visibility and promotion. I gather than these USL teams feel like the promotion of the league especially in big markets is poor. I will however point out that the league office is very good at researching and promoting the leagues successes in a way that MLS sometimes fails to do. But that is working better in smaller markets than some of the bigger ones, I suppose.

  46. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    August 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I should have published USL’s release on sale with NuRock holding info. For the record, I do like NuRock’s work in soccer but as I said earlier I am reporting a story right now- the commentary will come in a few days.


    Atlanta, Georgia (Aug 27th, 2009) – NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC (“NuRock Soccer Holdings”) today announced that it has acquired United Soccer Leagues (“USL”) from NIKE.

    NuRock Soccer Holdings, based in Atlanta, is led by Rob Hoskins and Alec Papadakis. NuRock Soccer Holdings is currently a USL franchisee with a Premier Development League operation in Atlanta and rights to acquire two USL First Division teams in Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama marketplaces, respectively.

    Rob Hoskins, the Chairman of NuRock Soccer Holdings, is one of the country’s most respected and largest real estate developers in residential housing, and brings his valuable management and branding experience to the soccer industry. Alec Papadakis, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of NuRock Soccer Holdings, is a franchise attorney with domestic and international expansion experience. As a player in the North American Soccer League for the Atlanta Chiefs and the Boston Minutemen, Papadakis has had a long, storied soccer career in the United States at the collegiate and professional level, with numerous accolades.

    “We are delighted to close this transaction with NIKE and begin a partnership with Nike’s leading football brands which will sponsor and support USL, and all of its leagues, for many years to come. Together with USL Management, we are excited about the opportunity to grow the size and visibility of USL, and to help develop and train the future generations of soccer athletes in the United States”, said Alec Papadakis, CEO of NuRock Soccer Holdings.

    Rob Hoskins, Chairman of NuRock Soccer Holdings, commented, “Our vision for USL is to become the most competitive and profitable pyramid of soccer leagues in North America, while providing affordable family entertainment, and serving as the inspirational destination for professional and amateur youth soccer players in the U.S.”

    Nike and Umbro will continue to support USL through a long-term sponsorship agreement naming Umbro as the official sponsor and exclusive supplier of match balls for USL’s professional and amateur leagues, including USL First Division, USL Second Division, Premier Development League and W-League. Nike Soccer will also serve as an exclusive sponsor for USL.

    “This is really the best of both worlds for USL,” said Francisco Marcos, Founder and President of United Soccer Leagues. “We have new ownership that will focus solely on developing and growing the leagues, and Umbro and Nike Soccer join us as sponsors to support our franchise owners, teams and athletes.”

    NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC
    NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC is part of the umbrella family of companies known as The NuRock Companies. The Principals of NuRock have a dedicated and deep understanding of the soccer industry. As part of its family of companies, NuRock is an existing USL franchisee, with a USL Premier Development League operation in Atlanta. Robert Hoskins is the Chairman of NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC and is the Founder and Managing Principal of The NuRock Companies. Alec Papadakis is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of NuRock Soccer Holdings.

    United Soccer Leagues
    United Soccer Leagues (“USL”), with headquarters in Tampa, FL, is the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America. USL is comprised of six leagues, USL First and Second Divisions (men’s professional soccer), Premier Development League (men’s under-23), W-League (women’s), Super-20 League (under-20, men’s and women’s amateur), and Super Y-League (boy’s and girl’s elite youth amateur). Dedicated to growing the sport of soccer at the grassroots level, USL has provided a platform for thousands of players to reach their dreams over the last three decades.

  47. nick

    August 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    who is Nurock Soccer Holdings

  48. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    August 27, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Me too.

    I support USL no matter what and hope this is just transition/growing pains. I have a lot of respect for NuRock, but am simply reporting what IMS and MLS Talk have learned.

  49. Bobby

    August 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Well, that doesn’t sound good at all. I hope all the parties involved can work something out to keep the league together.

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