Thursday, NYCFC announced their USL affiliate and they chose a team over 1,800 miles away, San Antonio FC. This partnership replaces their previous affiliate, the Wilmington Hammerheads (600 miles from NYC). Because the Hammerheads self-relegated to the PDL this year and they aren’t available to be an affiliate.
NYCFC Announce USL Affiliate
“We’re happy to announce our affiliation with San Antonio FC. This will be an important affiliation for NYCFC with an ambitious, forward-thinking club like San Antonio FC which shares our drive to grow the game within their own passionate soccer community,” said Sporting Director Claudio Reyna.
San Antonio is also excited about this partnership. The Managing Director of San Antonio FC, Tim Holt, praised NYCFC saying “NYCFC has quickly established itself as one of the highest performing clubs in Major League Soccer, and there is a considerable amount we can learn from their successful sporting and business models.
San Antonio FC Background
San Antonio FC are owned by Spurs Sports & Entertainment, who also own the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA. Founded in 2016, they placed 10th in the Western Conference in their inaugural season. Their stadium Toyota Stadium, has a capacity of 8,296 fans. Last season they averaged 6,170 fans per game. Former Orlando City SC ProAcademy Director Darren Powell coaches the team. Some of San Antonio FC’s rivals include Rio Grande Valley FC, Oklahoma City Energy and Tulsa Roughnecks.
This partnership will help NYCFC continue to develop their younger players. While Jonathan Lewis may get minutes with the first team right away, some other players, like the draft picks and James Sands, could use some more development. In addition to NYCFC sending players to SAFC, there will be a sharing of knowledge between the two clubs.
The biggest issue with this partnership is the distance. It will be hard for NYCFC to shuttle players back and forth between NYC and Texas. However, as the United States is a big country, it may be easier for USL players to meet up with NYCFC on the road.