SBD/June 13, 2014/Franchises

Soccer Franchise Notes: Union CEO Sakiewicz Blames Manager's Dismissal On Players

Sakiewicz said 80% of the blame should fall on the players
In Philadelphia, John Smallwood writes the comments Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz directed at his players were "so brutally harsh, you wanted to make sure they were in proper context." Sakiewicz justified Tuesday's firing of manager John Hackworth, saying that fans should "look no further than the guys in the locker room." Sakiewicz: "This time, it is 80 percent on the players ... In this business, you've got to take accountability as a player. I know that, because I was a player. You need to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'Hey, my bad' when it's your bad. That honesty is really important. The players need to be accountable for the situation that we are in. And they also need to be accountable for getting us out of it." Sakiewicz added that the decision on who will be the team's next manager is "too important for the fifth-year franchise to rush into anything." He said, "'Quickly' is not a word I would use to describe this search. We're going to be careful, very deliberate" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 6/13).

MOTOR CITY MOVES: In Detroit, Terry Foster reports USL Premier Development League Michigan Bucks Owner Dan Duggan and others are "attempting to bring" an MLS franchise to Detroit, but "most acknowledge Detroit won’t be part of MLS’s next round of expansion, which will pad the league from 19 to 24 teams" by '20. Detroit is "well behind a number of other cities that are bidding for a franchise," and the area "lacks a soccer enthused sponsor willing to sink" at least $200M into a team and a 20,000-seat stadium. Duggan "plans on submitting final paperwork to apply for a USL Pro franchise" in hopes that "if a USL Pro team generates soccer interest, Detroit can attract an MLS team during the next round of expansion" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/13).

MOVIN' ON UP: The USL Premier Development League Austin Aztex announced that they are "joining the USL Pro League" for the '15 season, "with ambitions of one day becoming a major league team." In Austin, Kevin Lyttle reported two local investors with "considerable clout" -- COTA Chair Bobby Epstein and TAG Presents President Paul Thornton -- are "now part of the ownership group ATX Soccer LLC" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 6/11).

LET'S SEE YOU DO BETTER: In Louisville, Jonathan Lintner noted a number of local soccer supporters and designers "bristled at the original Louisville City Football Club logo unveiled last week, so team owner Wayne Estopinal is leaving the crest up to the community." The Louisville City FC logo design contest "opened this week with a June 17 deadline for submissions before four finalists are selected by a fan vote held June 18-20." A winner will be announced June 22 "after a committee reviews the final designs" (COURIER-JOURNAL.com, 6/10).

INTERCONTINENTAL ACCORD: In Orlando, Brant Parsons reported Orlando City SC and Portugese Primeira Liga club SL Benfica have "come to an agreement where the two clubs will begin sharing player evaluations and professional knowledge while also offering the chance for potential friendly matches between the two clubs both in the U.S. and in Portugal" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 6/9).
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