Town of Cary Awarded United Soccer League First Division Expansion Franchise; Team will play at SAS Soccer Park Beginning in 2007
January 26, 2006
CARY ANNOUNCES PLANNED RETURN OF PROFESSIONAL SOCCER TO THE TRIANGLE
CARY, NC – The Town of Cary has just scored a winning goal – the planned return of professional soccer to the Triangle. In a news conference today at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, Mayor Ernie McAlister joined Rochester Rhinos Co-Owner Chris Economides and United Soccer Leagues Vice-President Tim Holt in announcing a deal that will bring the first men's United Soccer Leagues First Division expansion team to the Town of Cary. The formal agreement is expected to be signed and sealed tonight immediately following the Cary Town Council's vote, which will take place during their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
"I am sure that Cary citizens and soccer fans throughout the nation share our excitement and enthusiasm about this new chapter in sports history," said Mayor McAlister. "I am confident that having a professional soccer team will boost our area's employment opportunities, increase tourism dollars for the region, and promote the outstanding quality of life that Cary offers its citizens and our state. We appreciate the support of the NC Council of State and the Wake County Board of Commissioners in helping us to secure the agreement."
"We are extremely excited about the partnership with the Town of Cary," said Economides. "The negotiations have been pleasurable and it has been a very good experience working with everyone from the Town of Cary, as well as the business and soccer community, to bring professional soccer back to the Triangle area. We look forward to a long relationship with the great fans in the Triangle that we have heard so many wonderful things about."
Negotiations for the agreement moved ahead after the July 2005 exhibition game between the Rochester Raging Rhinos and D.C. United at SAS Soccer Park. Following that successful event, the Rhinos' owners and 2005 USL Hall of Fame inductees – Chris Economides, Steve Donner, and Frank DuRoss – collaborated with Boris Jerkunica, chairman of the Atlanta Silverbacks, to incorporate in North Carolina in October 2005 as Triangle Professional Soccer, LLC, with the intention of launching a new team.
As part of the six-year agreement with the Town of Cary, Triangle Professional Soccer will pay the Town $25,000 in rent for the SAS Soccer Park for the first year and spend the 2006 season developing the team, including hosting 6-10 exhibition matches. After the first year, the company will pay $70,000 per year for five years and play 16-20 home games. The agreement also calls for revenue sharing in areas such as concessions and sponsorships.
SAS Soccer Park is on 150 acres that the State of North Carolina leased to Wake County Government. In August 2004, the Town of Cary agreed to Wake County's request to take over the operation and maintenance of the facilities, which are just inside Cary's eastern town limits.
In order for Cary to secure a professional sports team as a tenant, the Town needed the okay from Wake County and the NC Council of State to amend the original SAS Soccer Park lease to allow the Town of Cary to become the sub-lessee. Wake County agreed to the sub-lease on December 5, 2005 and the Council of State approved the amendment on December 6, 2005.
SAS Soccer Park (originally called State Capital Soccer Park) was built by Wake County using $14.5 million in county-wide hotel room and prepared food and beverage taxes. The facility opened in May 2002 and was home to the Carolina Courage of the Women's United Soccer Association until the league suspended operations in September 2003.
The Park includes a 7,000-seat stadium, seven fields, locker rooms, concessions, and a nationally recognized competitive cross-country course.
The US Men's National Soccer Team will hold their final training camp at the Park in May 2006 before heading to the FIFA World Cup in Germany in June and July.
For general questions about the "as yet unnamed" team, ticket information, and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.uslsoccer.com , email TriangleProSoccer@yahoo.com , or call (919) 859-KICK (5425) beginning Friday, January 27. For more, visit, see SAS Soccer Park at www.townofcary.org or call (919) 858-0464.