Local group acquires USL's Virginia Beach franchise
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - United Soccer Leagues approved the sale Thursday of the Virginia Beach Mariners USL First Division franchise to Virginia Beach Soccer, LLC effective today. The club's first match under the new ownership will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel Friday night.
Created for purposes of owning and operating the Mariners, VBS has committed to operate the franchise in the USL First Division through the 2006 season and has expressed their desire to continue playing at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, the nation's first soccer-specific stadium. The organization will be led by Managing Directors Mike McCann and Franklin Wiley.
McCann has been involved in the game of Soccer both as a professional player, coach and soccer dad for many years. Having played professional soccer in Australia, England and Holland and currently serving as the President of DaiEi Papers (USA), McCann brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and dedication to the Mariners.
"The Mariners, Virginia Beach's only professional sports team is proud to call the magnificent Sportsplex home," said McCann. "The Mariners are important to not only our adult community, but our youth as well. The alternatives for our youth entertainment are not always positive and it is the responsibility of all of us to make the Mariners properly connect with our communities and to provide positive role models to our youth. This, along with a winning team, will be our first priority."
Wiley, President and CEO of Compass Investment Group, LLC with over 15 years experience in successful investment management and major business start-ups will focus on business and financial operations for the team.
"We are a part of the community and our focus will be just that," said Frank Wiley. "The Mariners now have the financial stability to contribute to the development of soccer in Virginia Beach. The City and its leaders made a commitment to the families of Virginia Beach when they built the Sportsplex. The Mariners are now in a position to contribute to that commitment and to offer the stability necessary to build a successful USL franchise that the citizens deserve. We look forward to working with the City of Virginia Beach, the business community and the soccer families of our region, particularly our youth."
VBS acquired the franchise from Mike Field, who took over the club during the 2002 season. Formerly known as the Hampton Roads Mariners, Field changed the name to Virginia Beach prior to the 2003 season that saw the Mariners make the postseason for the first time since 2000. The franchise has been a member of USL since 1994, playing its initial season as the Hampton Roads Hurricanes.
"We are pleased that the investors in VBS, who are very accomplished in their respective businesses in the Tidewater area, have stepped forward to help take the Mariners franchise and USL professional soccer in Virginia Beach to the next level," said USL Vice President Tim Holt. "We feel VBS will help make the Mariners a key member of Virginia Beach's wonderful sports community and revitalize the focus on the Sportsplex as one of the nation's premier soccer-specific facilities."
"We thank Mike Field for his contributions to the Mariners franchise, which was near extinction at the time of his purchase, and to USL initiatives over the past few years. Without him and the cooperation and patience of the City of Virginia Beach, the future of professional soccer in Virginia Beach would not be taking this exciting step forward today."
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USL First Division Stories from June 23, 2005
- Silverbacks 2005 TV debut - Atlanta Silverbacks
- Catch the Sounders Open Cup game at Starfire - Seattle Sounders
- Local group acquires USL's Virginia Beach franchise - Virginia Beach Mariners
- Rhinos host Battery this Saturday - Rochester Rhinos
- TSO/Lynx Tournament to Preceed Lynx match/Lynx search for Victory/Minnesota Road Game - Toronto Lynx
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