Soccer Business Bits: Trouble in St. Louis, Durbin Speaks & Man

The big business news in the world of American soccer business is the recent announcement that WPS franchise Saint Louis Athletetica is shutting down mid-season.  Due to a funding crisis, the team cannot make payroll and the league has been paying player wages.  The WPS schedule will be reworked to account for the lost team and players will have the opportunity to sign with other league franchises.  This is a big blow for WPS coming so soon after the loss of the Los Angeles Sol.  “It’s incredibly difficult to lose a team in mid-season like this,” said WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. “We looked at a few options as a league together with our Board and U.S. Soccer, but the operational hurdles and finances just didn’t work out. In the face of a severe funding gap in St. Louis, the local ownership group is shutting down the team at this point.”  WPS had been making strides with respect to sponsors and stadium construction, but now has to fight the perception, and perhaps reality, that the league is in trouble.

Click here for a report about a recent interview with MLS VP Todd Durbin by the New  York Post.  The original interview is wide ranging on a n umber of business issues, including reserve league, player loans and more.  The possibility of the reserve league coming back in some form is a welcome development.  Ultimately, a reserve league will improve the quality of play and further the development of American soccer.

Finally, Kansas City has started the process of promoting its Summer match with Manchester United.  Manchester United legend Denis Irwin visited Kansas City Wednesday to help promote the upcoming friendly between United and the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday, July 25 at New Arrowhead Stadium. Irwin was live on the Fox 4 morning show before an in-studio appearance on Sports Radio 810 WHB at 9 a.m. CT.