MLS Back To Florida?
NEW YORK – The Austin Aztex of the USSF D-2 have announced they will be relocating to Orlando, Fla., and on Monday, management made clear its goal of joining Major League Soccer in the near future.
The Aztex, founded by Stoke City owner and director Phil Rawlins, have been sold to a new British investor group, Orlando Sports Holdings, and will play in the USL Pro League next season as Orlando City Soccer Club. Rawlins will be the majority owner of OSH and is joined by the likes of Brendan Flood, an owner in former English Premier League club Burnley FC.
“The new investors made it very difficult for us to turn down their offer,” Rawlins said on the official site of the Aztex. “Their goal is to build up the soccer operations so that we can pursue an MLS franchise in the next few years.”
Rawlins cited the lack of local investors and the challenges of revenue generating opportunities at the Austin stadium facility as the main factors for the club’s move. The relocation was a condition of the new investors coming on board.
“They bring much needed additional capital, expertise and connections,” Rawlins said. “They have plans to add another professional sports team to the franchise which will give us year round revenue potential.”
Under the managerial guidance of former Stoke City player Adrian Heath, the Aztex finished second in the USSF D-2 in 2010 and scored a league-high 55 goals. In Orlando, the club will maintain its status as an affiliate club of the EPL’s Stoke City.
Back in 2009, reports indicated that Mexican club Pachuca was preparing to set up an affiliate in Orlando that would go by the name of Tuzos USA.
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