So close, yet so far.
Three days before the Philadelphia Fury's first home game, Fury CEO Matt Driver has announced that the team will withdraw from the National Independent Soccer Association’s fall season, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Scheduled to play out of Franklin Field, the Fury would have been the first professional soccer club to play within Philadelphia city limits since 1980.
The NISA is a recently founded professional soccer league and represents the third tier of professional soccer in the United States. In the NISA press release, posted on the Association's Twitter account, the league cited a “reversal from one of their main investors” as the reason for the Fury’s withdrawal.
The original Philadelphia Fury team was part of the North American Soccer League dating back to 1978. Despite initial popularity and an impressive investor list that included Mick Jagger, attendance eventually fell and the team disbanded until its eventual return in 2011.
Now coach Cris Vaccaro is working with Driver to rebuild the franchise, which has struggled to find a stadium and has bounced around from league to league since 2011.
Although it will have to forfeit eight scheduled games from this fall, the team is planning to return to play for the 2020 spring season. The news comes on the heels of two road losses: The Fury fell 1-0 in an exhibition against Detroit City FC in late August and were dismantled by Miami FC this past Saturday by a score of 8-1.
While the NISA’s East Coast Championship on Nov. 16 will no longer be held at Franklin Field, the Fury still plan to bring professional soccer back to Philadelphia with the start of their spring season.
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