Decision on future of Jacksonville Armada's league on hold

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- The fate of the North American Soccer League, the league where the Jacksonville Armada soccer team has played the past two years, is on hold until after Christmas, according to a report from the Indy Star newspaper.

The financially troubled league has already lost three teams for next season and several others, including the Armada, are rumored to either be in financial trouble or leaving the league.

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The newspaper reports:

"A spokesman for the United States Soccer Federation told IndyStar sanctioning decisions regarding the North American Soccer League and United Soccer League will take more time than originally planned.

On Dec. 6, USSF announced a decision on whether or not the NASL and/or USL would receive Division 2 status was postponed seven to 10 days. That initial timeframe lapsed on (last) Friday.

"Discussions are still ongoing and will be through the end of the year," a USSF spokesman told IndyStar. The spokesman added "there is no specific reason" for the delay and that sides "are still talking it through.

As First Coast News has reported over the past few weeks, the Armada released five of their highest paid players and laid off several staffers, including director of broadcasting Cole Pepper.

"We are still a functioning business and continue to work with (owner) Mark Frisch to develop a strategy that keeps professional soccer alive in Jacksonville." Armada Senior VP of Marketing Jo Shepherd told First Coast News on December 15.

STORY:Armada soccer team lays off staffers, future uncertain

If the Armada does continue to play, it is unlikely that they will return to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, multiple sources have confirmed to First Coast News. That decision is primarily being made because of the high cost of converting the baseball field to soccer (reported to be at $70,000 per conversion).

A source tells First Coast News the Armada reached out to the University of North Florida earlier this year about using Hodges Stadium for games in 2017 but nothing has been officially announced, as of yet.

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