JACKSONVILLE, Fla- The Jacksonville Armada will play in 2017 but the team will not be owned by Mark Frisch, First Coast News partner The Florida Times-Union Reports.
Frisch told the newspaper that the North American Soccer League's other owners will take over the team while new ownership is sought.
“I think it happens before the end of the season,” he told the newspaper. “That’s what everybody wants.”
The Armada released a letter from Frisch on Twitter detailing the situation.
A Letter from Mark Frisch pic.twitter.com/Y6AdsV9gJP— Jax Armada FC (@JaxArmadaFC) January 7, 2017
First Coast News had reported previously that Frisch was seeking a buyer for the team and that there is at least one local group interested.
The Armada will join teams in Puerto Rico New York, Miami, North Carolina, Edmonton, Indianapolis, and San Francisco for the Spring 2017 season, down from 12 last year. Expansion teams could be announced for the Fall or 2018 and there is hope that the Armada's Florida rival in Fort Lauderdale will continue to play at some point.
The Saturday announcement comes less than 24 hours after the North American Soccer League officially received sanctioning as a Division Two soccer league from the United States Soccer Federation for 2017. The formerly Division Three United Soccer League also received Division Two status.
“After an exhaustive process working with both leagues, in the best interest of the sport the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors has decided to grant provisional Division II status to the NASL and USL,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a statement.
“U.S. Soccer will create an internal working group that will work with each league to set a pathway to meet the full requirements for Division II and allow for the larger goal of creating a sustainable future. We look forward to another productive year for professional soccer in this country.”
Soccer Division Two is equivalent to baseball's AAA. one step below Major League Soccer.
The questions now....who will own the Armada and where will the team play?
The other issue yet unresolved...where will the team play.
First Coast News previously reported that the Armada was considering a move out of the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville due to the high cost ($70,000 per game) of converting the field. The team is believed to be considering a move to Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida.
First Coast News reached out to the Armada Saturday about the team's status but has not heard back.