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.
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