2015 San Antonio Soccer Awards


SSE Formally Announce USL team

The San Antonio Scorpions are no more as Spurs Sports and Entertainment formally announced that they will be going to the USL in 2016. That decision, combined with the deal with the city and county means that the San Antonio Scorpions cannot play, at least in San Antonio.

Spurs Sports and Entertainment announce USL team-slide0
Photo used with permission from Chris Hockman
The Crocketteers celebrate the announcement

Photo used with permission from Chris Hockman

But that may not mean the end of the Scorpions as an organization as Gordon Hartman stated “I have a desire for the Scorpions to continue play in the NASL.” When pressed afterwards what this meant Hartman stated “I’ve heard all sorts of speculation, but it’s just that, speculation. We’re open to options.” So the Scorpions will carry on, potentially in Las Vegas, but Hartman would not state where he was talking to.

The press conference revealed little about the club that wasn’t already known, SSE announced a month ago that they would be heading to USL with a new team. With the team name and colors not yet announced, those announcements will be coming in January with the season starting in March.

It was an opportunity for all parties of the agreement to get some air time and slap each other on the back. Nelson Wolff set up how big the agreement was “Never before have Bexar County and the City of San Antonio worked together to purchase a professional stadium.”

Mike Gallagher went a little overboard, proclaiming “MLS is coming to San Antonio” as if a deal was already done. Wolff was much more measured, saying “there is a lot of work to be done, this is just a first step.”

There was one significant revelation at the event though, as SSE revealed their season ticket prices, and it’s a big win for San Antonio soccer fans. Tickets are hundreds of dollars cheaper than the Scorpions in almost every category, and at least $50 cheaper. Scorpions season tickets ranged from $1,100 to $200 while the new club will have tickets from $600-150.

The other big win for the fans is that parking will be included in all season ticket packages, making them even more valuable. For those fans that have already bought Scorpions season tickets, they can work out a refund with the Scorpions or donate the money to Morgan’s Wonderland, as the tickets will not transfer.

More announcements will be coming over the next few months as the team builds to a start in March 2016. The name if the team is expected to be the next announcement, expected to be coming in January along with colors and a coach.

City of San Antonio Passes Toyota Field Purchase

The City of San Antonio has approved the purchase of Toyota Field with a unanimous vote on Thursday and as such the final step needed to complete the sale has been passed. What this means is now contracts can be signed by all four parties involved and announcements should start.

Thursday’s meeting helped not only pass that hurdle but it also provided a lot of clarification to what the deal is. Those details were outlined by Assistant City Manager Carlos Contreras who really expanded on all of the nitty gritty details of what the sale involves.

There was a conflict between the two appraisals of the stadium, with the city appraising it at $13.3 million, while Gordon Hartman appraised it at $28 million. This means that neither party really got what they wanted (the total sale price is $18 million) which is often a good sign of a successful negotiation.

One of the most significant parts of the sale that Contreras announced was exactly how the city will deal with this following the sale. The city will form a Public Facilities Corporation to oversee this new purchase, which will include both Toyota Field and the South Texas Area Regional soccer complex.

That PFC will be in charge of the upgrades to the stadium and the new organization set up by Spurs Sports and Entertainment, San Antonio Football Club LLC will have to go through that organization. The PFC will be tasked first of all with upgrading STAR and will be in charge of approving SAFC budgets, making sure lease obligations are upheld and will have a board of two members from the city and two from the county.

The terms of the lease to SAFC LLC were also clarified, expanding on what we already knew about a 20 year lease. SAFC will be paying the PFC $100k per year and will also be required to pay a fee of $1.25 per ticket sold, which will go to a PFC improvement fund. The $1.25 number is set to rise throughout the lease to maintain value to the PFC.

Getting a Major League Soccer team is the clearly stated goal in all of this and as a result that was clarified, with SAFC required to provide a detailed plan to the PFC. SAFC will also be obligated to supplying the MLS expansion fee, with the city only spending money on the facilities.

As has been stated Spurs Sports and Entertainment will be required to repay both the city and the county if they fail to get an MLS team. Those payments were fully outlined beginning in year six with $250k to both before upping to $500k in year nine, $750k in year 10 and years 11-13 $1 million.

The city is also not locked in to SAFC as the only organization to go to MLS, but there are some clauses connected to a third party coming in. The lease with SAFC has a 10 year exclusivity clause and if a new soccer team comes in to MLS within those 10 years they are required to reimburse SSE.

A big point of contention was where the city money will come from and that was also clarified by Contreras at the urging of Mayor Ivy Taylor. The money will come from a redemption and capital reserve fund that is generated from other facilities, like Alamodome rents, money which cannot be used for non-facility things (like roads). The city expects that over time the facility will become self-sufficient.

Finally there were a couple of things mentioned with the SSE representative hinting that due to the lateness of this deal there will be no real pre-season matches, something San Antonio fans have grown useful. While again it was stated that 100% of the sale goes to Morgan’s Wonderland, thus securing its financial future.

Gabriel Brenner Takes Majority Share in Houston Dynamo

Press Hat-trick and Horan Performance see USA past Trinidad and Tobago

The World Champions returned to San Antonio as the US Women’s Team took on Trinidad and Tobago at the Alamodome on Thursday night. The USA cruised to the victory as a strong second half saw them overwhelm Trinidad and Tobago 6-0.

In the tenth minute the United States had their first really clear chance of the match when the ball was played through for Alex Morgan. She ran on to the ball and got a shot away but it was well saved by Kimika Forbes.

In the 22nd minute the USA got the lead through a penalty, after a collision between Forbes and Alex Morgan the referee pointed to spot, despite the keeper getting a big piece of the ball. After a lengthy delay to treat the two players, Carli Lloyd stepped up and buried the penalty confidently to give the world champions the lead.

“I still don’t know what that penalty was for,” said Trinidad and Tobago coach Randy Waldrum.”It seemed like two players challenging for the ball to me, but it was given.”

Some scrappy defending from Trinidad and Tobago allowed USA another chance and they thought they’d doubled their lead. Carli Lloyd crossed the ball back for Morgan who headed the ball home but the offside flag was up after Lloyd was offside before she sent in the cross.

Lindsay Horan had a good chance for the World Champions in the 42nd minute as a long ball found her perfectly. Horan controlled well with her chest but was closed down quickly and sent her effort wide of goal which kept it 1-0 at half-time.

Horan was the star of the match, finishing with three assists and a goal, which had Jill Ellis glowing in praise. “I thought she was excellent, we played her slightly lower, it was the first time she’s played in there and her passing was great.”

The second goal finally came in the 52nd minute as Morgan exorcised her Alamodome demons as Lindsey Horan played her through. Morgan skirted the offside trap and ran clean through on goal, allowing her to shoot past Forbes to make it two.

Forbes made her first mistake of the match in the 61st minute and it allowed the USA to make it 3-0. Christen Press was allowed to turn and then kept her run going to create space on the edge of the box, taking a shot that burst through Forbes hands and in to the back of the net.

In the 66th minute Trinidad and Tobago had their best chance of the match after some great work down the line. Tasha St. Louis harried the USA defense, and regained possession for the visitors but they ran out of space, surrendering possession.

Press sealed her brace in the 75th minute as some slick passing work from the United States saw them set up the opportunity. Press got the ball and slid the ball to the net, nutmegging Forbes to make it 4-0.

Press made it a hat-trick in the 83rd minute, after Horan was again able to provide the assist, Horan sent the ball in deep to a wide open Press who buried it for 5-0. The sixth came in stoppage as Horan was able to bury the strike after some nice build up sealing her first international goal.

USWNT v Trinidad and Tobago Preview

US Soccer confirmed on Wednesday that the US Women’s Team friendly against Trinidad and Tobago will go ahead, the Rivard Report reported. The match was under some threat after the same encounter in Hawaii was cancelled due to poor pitch conditions, leaving many in San Antonio, familiar with the poor condition of the Alamodome turf anxious that the same fate would befall the Alamodome match.

The turf has previously had problems with a women’s international friendly, with two injuries coming in the last USWNT match here. Australia’s Kyah Simon tore her ACL, almost ending her international career, while Alex Morgan also suffered an injury in that match.

This match proves a vital part of preparation for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying which will take place in Texas in February. Only two teams will advance to the Olympic Games from that tournament and as such it will be a cut throat tournament, with this match proving vital to Trinidad and Tobago’s preparation especially.

There will be one notable player missing from the USA squad in this match as Megan Rapinoe will be absent. Rapinoe tore her ACL in her right knee in training in Honolulu which was one of the reasons for canceling the match at Aloha Stadium.

Also missing for the world champions will be Christie Rampone, who also has a knee injury and will likely miss all the remaining matches. Rampone could be available for the match in New Orleans, which will prove Abby Wambach’s last match.

After retirements and the two mentioned absences, the US Women’s Team have added eight players to the squad who did not travel to the World Cup. The most notable is Crystal Dunn, who showed why selecting her should have been the decision by winning the NWSL MVP award, being cut from the squad at the last moment.

There are two players who could well make their debuts in the match on Thursday with Danielle Colaprico, NWSL Rookie of the year and Rose Lavelle, a junior at Wisnconsin receiving a call up. Colaprico started every NWSL game in the season, while Lavelle recently played at the CONCACAF Under 20 tournament, winning the MVP award.

On the Trinidad and Tobago side there is a heavy connection with Texas, with the visiting side being coached by Randy Waldrum. Waldrum coaches Houston Dash, meaning he’ll be matching himself against his club player, Carli Lloyd.

There are a few Trinidad and Tobago players with connections in the United States, with Kenya Cordner, and Danielle Blair both having played in the United States. Ahkeela Mollon will be a key player for the United States to watch out for, playing for European side, Kvarnsvedens IK.

Two key players could be missing for Trinidad and Tobago with Mariah Shade and Patrice Superville under an injury cloud. They will need all the players they can as the USA will be quite a match for Trinidad and Tobago but the Socca Warriors will come in with some confidence after only falling 1-0 at the 2014 CONCACAF Championships against a strong USWNT side.

Only penalties stopped Trinidad and Tobago from advancing to the 2014 Championship final and a berth in the World Cup, before an extra-time loss was what kept them out of the World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago are a stronger side than what most USWNT fans believe, and will give the hosts a fight but this should still be a comfortable win for the United States.

Women’s World Cup Trophy to make Appearances in San Antonio

The US Women’s National team will be arriving in San Antonio next week ahead of Thursday’s match against Trinidad and Tobago at the Alamodome. Ahead of that event US Soccer announced on Friday afternoon that the World Champions will be hosting an open training session and the World Cup trophy will be appearing throughout the city, throughout the week.

The first chance for fans to experience the World Cup trophy will be on Tuesday afternoon as the trophy heads to Market Square. The trophy will be on display near Mi Tierra café from 4-7PM and will be accompanied by Shannon Boxx, freshly retired from that World Cup winning side.

Following that appearance the full US Women’s Team will be conducting their pitch familiarization session at the Alamodome on Wednesday. That event has been opened to the public, with the session starting at 5pm at the Alamodome.

Fans will be allowed in through the North Doors starting half an hour before the training session and seating is general admission. Lot C of the Alamodome will be open for parking for fans, which will attract a $10 charge ($25 for buses) but admission to the Alamodome itself is free.

Before and after that training session the World Cup trophy will be shown in the North Plaza of the Alamodome. It will be forming a part of a presentation from Coca-Cola, FIFA sponsor who will be giving out drinks and allowing fans to take pictures with the trophy.

The trophy will be in the same position on Thursday before the match gets under way and will be a big piece of the FanHQ pre-match celebrations. The trophy will be on display at Coca-Cola’s tent from 5-7pm before the match, allowing fans another opportunity.