Carolina RailHawks expected to address NWSL bid next week

Tim Nash November 30, 2016 20

The Carolina RailHawks will be holding an event on Dec. 6 to discuss what they are billing “A New State of Soccer.” The event will include new information on the possibility of an NWSL franchise, but whether the club will be become a league member is still unclear.

The RailHawks, a North American Soccer League franchise based outside of Raleigh, N.C., in Cary, have previously expressed interest in putting a team in the National Women’s Soccer League. Club president Curt Johnson said in July, “We are interested. Our owner, Steve Malik and I met with (NWSL President) Jeff Plush in Chicago in June, and we have had further conversations. There is interest from both sides, and the process is on-going. We are just doing our due diligence and getting the lay of the land, understanding budgets, the relationship with US Soccer and the long-term vision.”

Through a spokesperson, the league declined to address any specifics about a team in Carolina: “We are very pleased with the level of interest and ongoing discussions regarding potential expansion teams, but it would be premature to discuss specifics at this time.”

When Malik took over as owner of the RailHawks in October, 2015, he made no secret of his desire to “bring the highest level of soccer to the Triangle Area” (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill).

In September, RailHawks ownership trademarked the name Carolina Courage, which was used by the WUSA team that played in the area between 2001 and 2003 and won Founders Cup II in 2002.

Though the status of an NWSL expansion bid is expected to be addressed the event is likely to be heavily focused on the RailHawks. The club is rumored to be undergoing a re-branding effort, which could include a name change, and there have been discussions involving stadiums with both the town of Cary, which is the owner of Wake Med Park, as well as the city of Raleigh about a downtown stadium.

  • Steglitz49

    Wish them all the best!

  • Kevin

    I know Cincinnati is trying to get an MLS team and have said they want a WoSo team too. I know it’s too early right now, but maybe a couple years down the road. Hopefully, they’re on the radar. If not, they should be.

    Not sure if any of you have heard about their attendance numbers, but FC Cincinnati is a USL expansion team that played it’s 1st season this year.

    Expansion side FC Cincinnati totaled a league-record 259,437 fans for the season and averaged a league-record 17,296 per game at Nippert Stadium. The team surpassed 20,000 in attendance on four occasions. This began with 20,497 on April 16, a USL attendance record for regular season and playoffs with 23,375 on May 14, 20,151 on July 23, and then broke its own league record with 24,376 on September 17.

    They also drew 35,061 in a match against Crystal Palace.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/07/17/fc-cincinnati-outdraw-every-mls-match-with-record-crowd-of-35000/

    I know that’s men’s soccer, but I would hope there would be some support for the women too.

    Does anyone know about which teams they’re considering for future expansion?

    • HOFCToDi

      If you didn’t have your head shoved up the arse of Christen Press, you would realize what transpires in the world of sports. No wonder you are a freakin’ dumbass.

      player.fm/series/planet-ftbol-with-grant-wahl/brian-straus-sports-illustrated

      Christen Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988)
      2016 Summer Olympic Games
      Goals 0, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 6, Shots on Goal 1
      Penalty Kicks Attempted 1, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

      Mallory Pugh (DOB 29 Apr 1998)
      2016 Summer Olympic Games
      Goals 1, Assists 0, Shots Attempted 4, Shots on Goal 1
      Penalty Kicks Attempted 0, Penalty Kicks Converted 0

      Christen Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988)
      2016 SheBelieves Cup
      Goals 0, Assists 0

      Mallory Pugh (DOB 29 Apr 1998)
      2016 SheBelieves Cup
      Goals 0, Assists 1

      Christen Press (DOB 29 Dec 1988)
      2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
      Knockout Stage
      Goals 0, Assists 0

      Mallory Pugh (DOB 29 Apr 1998)
      2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying
      Knockout Stage
      Goals 0, Assists 2

      4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
      78 caps
      2 head coaches

      Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

      garbage time
      prima donna
      selfish shot hog
      tomato cans

      • Steglitz49

        Stop inhaling. Take your medication. Contemplate Brasilia.

        In short, stay on topic and chill out.

      • newsouth

        the hate will only drive you insane.

        • Steglitz49

          Do you think it is fueled by Christen having played in Sweden and for two different clubs to boot too?

        • HOFCToDi

          Enjoy those meaningless goals scored at international women’s friendlies versus tomato cans.

          I’m still waiting for Christen Press to score a goal at the Summer Olympics. The USSF can’t find one.

          I’m still waiting for Christen Press to score a goal at the SheBelieves Cup. The USSF can’t find one.

          I’m still waiting for Christen Press to score a goal versus a Top 12 FIFA Ranked opponent in calendar year 2016. The USSF can’t find one.

          Goals 0, Assists 2

          4 years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
          78 caps
          2 head coaches

          Christen Press has cemented her legacy with the USWNT:

          garbage time
          prima donna
          selfish shot hog
          tomato cans

      • guest

        appears the HOFCToDi bot was perhaps set off by Crystal Palace reference ???

        • Steglitz49

          Touché!

    • Steglitz49

      These swing states are the real McCoy — though Cincinnati is partly in Kentucky, I believe — like KC straddles a line.

      • Kevin

        The city itself is officially in Ohio only, but Greater Cincinnati is essentially in 3 states… Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, although probably less than 5% of the ~2.5 million Greater Cincinnati population lives in Indiana. Northern Kentucky, as it’s generally called, is probably about 20-30% of the population.

        Downtown Cincinnati sits right on the river which is the state’s southern border and only a couple miles from Nippert Stadium (which is the University of Cincinnati’s stadium), so much of Northern Kentucky is only 5-10 miles away.

    • CED

      The next expansion will be likely in the west and surely linked to MLS clubs. There were a bunch interested such as RSL, Colorado, etc…as well as CA ownership groups. Also interest long term from LAFC group and other MLS CA teams. NWSL has stated CA as a top target for expansion just in August. The are he mentioned for expansion was the southeast. So, if you take him on how word it’s west and southeast as targets not midwest rust belt states OH, IN, etc…who have shown interest in the past that have come to nothing. West and the Southeast also is where the population growth has been occurring.

    • USMNTfan4life

      I don’t think the market (in any city) is huge on WoSo, and I think expansion should wait until the current teams are doing reasonably well financially. WoSo for Man City and FCB are primarily marketing and public relations ploys, in my opinion. The FCB women’s team in Barcelona is not the juggernaut that the men’s side is. It will be the same here. Carli Llloyd cannot sell out the lower bowl for her Dash games, so what makes you think WoSo is a hot sell anywhere else (outside of Portland)?

      AEG supported WoSo for one year, and then wanted someone else to take the team, and when no one did, the LA Sol folded. LAFC is putting a women’s team because for some inexplicable reason, Mia Hamm is an owner (listed as an “entrepeneur”, or living off her husband’s baseball earnings). If I saw that WoSo was a profitable enterpise, I would be fore expansion. Mens soccer is barely profitable, so I don’t know why there is a cry for WoSo in regions that have a hard time in the environments for men’s soccer.

      • mockmook

        1) I think you are underestimating the current and future interest in WoSo.

        2) The league will not be profitable any time soon. But, it has more chance of profitability if it is bigger, which means more national and international interest, which means higher likelihood of a real TV deal, which means more interest, which means…

      • Som Termanni

        Hamm is one of 22 “owners”, along with Nomar. Put their wealth together and you have maybe 10% of Chad Hurley’s, or 0.1% of Vincent “Cardiff City” Tan. They’re minnows brought on as “co-owners” for the name recognition, alongside the likes of Magic Johnson and Will Farrell and Tony Robbins, but Hamm is unlikely to hold enough of the team to will an entire women’s franchise into existence. If LAFC has a women’s team, it’s because the people who actually stand to make or lose money want one, and because Plush will bend over backwards to accommodate them.

  • Bruce

    We’ve been through this before. Carolina barely drives 5k per match for their men’s team, but thinks they can magically be successful with an NWSL franchise. They’ve got a suburban stadium that is equally inaccessible from all points. It’s a recipe for disaster.

    Not at all surprised Jeff Plush is entertaining this offer, though. I mean, what else is he doing?

    • Som Termanni

      Perhaps the RailHawks are trying to demonstrate that they understand the level of professionalism expected in the NWSL, by breaking their own press embargo and revealing a clip art logo for their men’s rebrand.

    • dylan

      Of course, drawing about 5,000 for the NWSL is considered doing very well. Sad but true.