While questions still remain about the Jacksonville Armada's future, one thing is clear, their financially troubled league will play a 2017 season.
The North American Soccer League officially received sanctioning as a Division Two soccer league from the United States Soccer Federation for 2017 on Friday evening. 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.
Sports Illustrated reports that the Armada will be one of eight teams that take the field for the spring season in 2017. This despite the team laying off several front office staffers, including Director of Broadcasting Cole Pepper, and releasing several key players in December.
SI reports the Armada will be funded by the league's other team's while a sale to new owners is worked out. Current owner Mark Frisch is believed to be wanting to sell the team.
First Coast News reached out to the Armada Friday morning about the team's status but has not heard back.
On Wednesday, Armada spokesperson Jo Shepherd told First Coast News that "rest assured, we are working on a plan for 2017."
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.