HERBERT YOUNG COMMUNITY CENTER/ CARY—The press conference was designed more for television consumption than getting into wonky questions about America’s soccer pyramid, the U.S. Open Cup or the constitution of the RailHawks ownership.
Aaron Davidson, the president of the North American Soccer League, said as much in his opening remarks, saying that this assembly wasn’t about politics. He also was quick to acknowledge “those who came before us,” meaning specifically Selby and Brian Wellman, who controlled the team during its third and fourth seasons.
Local television stations and a sports radio reporter were present, and were surely the intended audience for this event as Davidson introduced Dean Linke, the voice of the RailHawks, who in turn introduced the only local person with an ownership stake in the new RailHawks, Paul Singh; new team president Curt Johnson, who spoke at length about his experience as a soccer player and executive; and coach Martin Rennie, who opened his remarks with what will no doubt become a practiced gag, recalling his dismay at seeing his office television and refrigerator listed among team’s possessions on eBay. Rennie said he was unsuccessful in bidding for them.
We learned the following:
Davidson on USOC decison. We found out [about the USOC decision] Friday right after we got sanctioned, literally at the same time. It was simultaneous.
What was the explanation?
“I think Sunil told the media what he told us, that given the timing we had to go ahead with our planning for the US Open Cup in 2011. Given the fact that we didn’t know until the last minute, last week, we were unable to schedule you in. Obviously it’s complicated for USSF to schedule it. Frankly, from our perspective—I don’t want this to come out the wrong way—but we need to focus on our league right now. The US Open Cup is a phenomenal tournament, it gives you a chance to play MLS teams in games that matter, and it gives you a chance if you win it all you get to go to the [CONCACAF] Champions League, but at the end of the day …. Champions League not totally unforeseeable but we all know we’d rather focus on this league this season. The US Open Cup games still cost you money, it’s hard to draw serious gates there because you don’t have a lot of lead time to promote them, they’re on weekdays, they’re usually Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Obviously, if you get to the later rounds there are chances at really top matches. But look, we look forward to coming back to the US Open Cup in 2012. Let’s focus on NASL this year.