WECT in Wilmington, N.C. is reporting that the Wilmington Hammerheads, regular season champions of the USL-2 in 2009, are out of the league. It appears to be unrelated to the turmoil in the first division, having more to do with the finances of team owner Chuck Sullivan, who took over the club prior to the 2008 season. The report notes that the franchise reportedly encountered difficulties paying players on time, but that those obligations have now been met.

We’re knee-deep in other work today, but we’ll be keeping an eye on this.

WECT Sports has learned that the United Soccer League has opted to remove the Wilmington Hammerheads from its list of franchises. Senior Director of Franchise Development Matt Weibe confirmed the move on Tuesday.

“We have discontinued our relationship with Chuck Sullivan,” Weibe said. “The USL is a franchised based league, where certiain requirements must be met and in this case they were not met.” When asked what those requirements were, Mr. Weibe said WECT would have to contact Mr. Sullivan.

The Wilmington Hammerheads played the USL-1 RailHawks three times in 2009two friendlies and an epic clash in the 2nd round of the US Open Cup, won by the Hammerheads in PKs. RailHawks players Aaron King, Andriy Budnyy and Caleb Patterson-Sewell all did loan stints there last season.