I am a tad late to writing this up but now is as good of a time as ever to do so.
I caught wind recently that FC Dallas would be using an affiliate in the USL PRO next season instead of launching their own club. This morning, Steve Hunt at the Dallas Morning News verified those statements when he talked to Dan Hunt.
Yeah, we are in the final stages of having an affiliate for the 2015 USL Pro season. I won't elaborate who it is out of respect for them and also the league. There's just so many moving parts. Not only is there going to be a new labor negotiation coming up, but the league is kind of going into a soft landing in 2015, but we will have an affiliate.
Hunt had mentioned briefly in his weekly Facebook chat last week that the club would likely be going down this path.
We had been reporting for what feels like nearly a year that FC Dallas would own their own club in the USL PRO starting in 2015 but Hunt mentioned that part of the plan is still true but it will just come more likely in 2016.
So, we hope with our own USL Pro team that there will be plenty of opportunity, but you also want to keep that door open with good quality organizations to maintain the continuity and also give kids the opportunity there just in case. We would be so lucky if we had 25 to 30 young players that we developed. You've got to have multiple outlets for them to get games.
In a small way I'm not too upset over this. While several clubs from Vancouver, Salt Lake, Seattle and New York are all set to do their own USL club thing in 2015, I'm perfectly fine with FCD waiting another year to get all their ducks in a row. Believe me there are a lot of logistics that stand in the way here for setting these things up. Between coaching staff, front office folks to organize, sale and maintain things to where the team will play and what not.
Lets also not forget to mention how important the upcoming MLS CBA talks will be too for things like this. In a way, that may be delaying this more than anything else for FCD.
So waiting another year while having an affiliate is okay in my book if it means they have everything right.
Now the bigger question is who will FCD get an affiliation with? Next year the USL is expanding to two fairly close markets in Tulsa and Austin. Both make logical sense based on geography but a lot still goes into that. Hunt had comments about how coaching staff at those places, along with the front office staff are just as big of a factor as the location of the team is.
I'd point out that we can't sleep on the new expansion side in Colorado Springs as well as a potential affiliate. Sure that team is closer to the Colorado Rapids but they haven't locked down an agreement with one another yet so depending on the factors mentioned above, they could be a possible target as well.
We should know something within the next two months as to who the affiliate will be.