FC Edmonton owners Tom and Dave Fath announced Friday that the club is leaving the North American Soccer League and discontinuing professional franchise operations effective immediately.
That made two teams officially leaving the league as club CEO Brian Andres Helmick announced the Deltas’ departure on a blog earlier in the day.
The Eddies have been rumored they would join the Canadian Premier League someday. The CPL is scheduled to kick off in 2018, although there has been no announcement as to whether the FC Edmonton owners would be a part of the new venture.
One thing is certain: the Eddies are out of the NASL.
“Although we believed in and have supported the NASL business model, our franchise has proven to be unsustainable in the Edmonton market,” Tom Fath said in a statement. “Our decision today is further reinforced by the continuous uncertainty being forced upon the NASL by the United States Soccer Federation. We sincerely hope the road to long-term stability can be found for the NASL as the NASL pursues the lawsuit against the USSF in the US courts.”
FC Edmonton finished seventh out of eight teams in the NASL’s combined standings in 2017, with a 7-19-6 mark and 27 points.
The Fath brothers joined the NASL at the league’s founding meeting in November 2009, with FC Edmonton beginning exhibition play in 2010.
The team competed in its first official league match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers April 9, 2011, earning a 2-1 victory. Since then the Eddies have played more 200 league games and reached the postseason twice in seven seasons.
In a joint statement, Tom and Dave Fath added: “Regardless of our decision today, we must express our sincere thanks to the players, coaches, loyal fans, sponsors and our very hard-working administration team for their commitment and dedication to professional soccer in Edmonton. We also want to re-assure local youth soccer that we remain committed to our FC Edmonton Academy.”
The NASL, which is trying to regain its Division Two status that was rescinded by the U.S. Soccer Federation, in court, has six of the eight teams returning for next season.
After Edmonton and San Francisco made it official Friday, NASL interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal issued a statement about the clubs’ demise:
“As we anticipate what we hope will be a favorable outcome in the U.S. Court of Appeals, we have been working diligently to build a strong foundation for the 2018 season. We are looking at making a number of changes to our business structure, and we are encouraged by the amount of expansion candidates that are ready to join the NASL.
“During this time of change, two of our clubs, FC Edmonton and the San Francisco Deltas, will be departing the league.
“We are very appreciative of FC Edmonton’s contribution to the NASL as a founding member. As the club’s owner, Tom Fath was a tremendous ambassador for the league and his genuine passion for the community did so much for the fans and the people of Edmonton.
“In San Francisco, it’s unfortunate that the Deltas’ business plans did not materialize in the way they had hoped. We remain a big believer in the market, as evidenced by the atmosphere and crowd at The Championship Final earlier this month, and we still believe that the city deserves a professional soccer team. We are in active discussions with potential ownership groups and we aim to keep professional soccer in San Francisco in the future.
“We appreciate the support of the soccer community as we continue our plans for the 2018 season, and we remain confident ahead of our appeal hearing on December 15.”