Nomads has Agreed To Take Control Of The USL-Owned A-League San Diego Franchise

April 18, 2001

SAN DIEGO (Wednesday, April 18, 2001) - USL Associate Commissioner Dave Askinas announced late yesterday that The Nomads Soccer Club has agreed to manage the USL-owned San Diego franchise. The decision comes just about a week after the league terminated the old San Diego Flash franchise for non-soccer-related financial reasons. The agreement calls for the Nomads to operate the franchise for the coming season, or until an owner is selected.

The Nomads were formed in 1976 and are currently led by Technical Director Derek Armstrong. Armstrong says the new franchise will carry the title of San Diego F.C.. While several Nomads will be part of the roster, Armstrong plans on calling in prominent players from the city’s other big clubs, like the Surf and Hotspurs. "It adds an impetus to youth soccer in San Diego as a target to play for your hometown team."

Armstrong will carry the title of the club’s technical director. Ex-Flash coach Eliseo ’Papo’ Santos, initially agreed to coach the new team, but later rescinded his offer. "I am still negotiating with him to see if I can talk him staying around," said Armstrong. "Papo provided stability and did a very good job in holding things together. He did a very credible job and that’s why I wanted to keep him involved." In the interim, Norman Piper and Brian McManus will take takeover as team coaches.

The new club has already signed 15 players to the roster, including former Flash players Nate Hetherington, Carlos Calderson, P.J. Brown, Mugurel Dumitru, and Brian O’Connor.

The club has signed veteran MLS defender Joey Martinez, a former Nomad and a second round pick by Dallas in the 1997 MLS supplemental draft. Hugo Alcaraz, Javier Bustos, Tim Gorman, Matt Hall, Colby Jackson, Simon Levitt, Thiego Martin, Adam Maurer and Miguel Souza make up the rest of the San Diego F.C. roster, so far. The club is also in discussions with several well known San Diego community soccer players like Paul Dougherty, Chugger Adair and David Banks to join the new team.

Armstrong has also been in contact with Los Angeles Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid about acquiring some of the MLS team’s players on short-term loans while he organizes a roster.

While the initial operating agreement is a short-term fix, Armstrong is looking at the situation with an eye to the future. It’s a quick start for the new team, with its A-League opener set for Thursday night against visiting Milwaukee, but Armstrong says everything will be ready. "That’s a go. Stadiums done, team’s training, we’re ready to go. We’ve got a little problem putting the thing together logistically but we’ll be ready."

The San Diego F.C. first game is this Thursday night (April 19) at 7:35 pm at San Diego Mesa College – Douglas Stadium against the Milwaukee Rampage. The Rampage advanced all the way to the A-League final four last year and are led by A-League 2000 most valuable player, Vitalis (Digital) Takawira.

Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 13 – 18. Children under 12 will be admitted free. The San Diego F.C. also announced that they will have a contest to let the fans pick the team’s new name and logo.

Below is the official announcement released by the USL.

USL announces Nomads as managers of USL-owned club

TAMPA (Tuesday, April 17, 2001) – United Soccer Leagues announced today that the new USL-owned San Diego A-League franchise will be managed locally while it pursues a suitable long-term owner for the team.

USL has reached a management deal with San Diego-based Nomads, one of the nation’s premier youth soccer clubs. The agreement calls for the Nomads to operate the franchise with USL funding for the 2001 season or until an owner is selected.

USL is soliciting purchase proposals from interested parties, including the Nomads, for the immediate acquisition of the franchise.

"San Diego, the sixth most populous city in the nation, is a fantastic soccer market especially with its vast Hispanic community," said USL Associate Commissioner Dave Askinas. "We have many options for ownership, some of which include the Nomads, and want to ensure that the best possible solution for USL, the A-League and the city of San Diego is chosen."

The new franchise will be temporarily known as San Diego F.C. (Football Club) while under USL ownership to allow any potential ownership group the opportunity to create its own distinct image once the sale of the club is complete.

“Creating a brand is one of the most valuable aspects of any sports franchise and we do not want to muddy the waters, so to speak, in San Diego with a nickname that will only be used for one season.”

The Nomads previously owned a franchise in the Western Soccer Alliance, which later became part of the A-League. The Nomads were 4-6-4 in their inaugural 1996 WSA season, but turned things around to win the regular season and WSA National Championship the following year.

The Nomads continued to be one of the league’s top teams until the newly-named Western Soccer League completed a merger with the East Coast-based American Soccer League in 1990. The Nomads finished second in the regular season and playoffs in 1988. In 1989, they won the South Division and the WSL title, but lost in the WSL-ASL National Championship match.

The club, which missed the playoffs in its final season in 1990, was home to some of the nation’s top players such as Marcelo Balboa, Paul Caliguiri, Paul Dougherty and Eric Wynalda. Even former Rochester Raging Rhinos midfielder Yari Allnut spent two seasons with the Nomads.

“We are very pleased to have such an outstanding organization as the Nomads operating the San Diego franchise during this interim USL ownership period. We are extremely confident that the Nomads previous experience in professional soccer management will maintain the high quality of A-League soccer previously provided by the Flash.”

The Nomads, who had previously been considering joining the Super Y-League, are led by Technical Director Derek Armstrong, who has been a key figure in the youth club’s success over the years. Brian McManus and Norman Piper will join the club as a staff coaches.

In 1977, a year after the Nomads were founded by Joe Hollow, Armstrong was spotted working with you players of English club Blackpool by Hollow. Later that year he became the Nomads’ director of coaching and began the process of turning the local club into a nationally-renowned youth soccer system.

Armstrong was the assistant coach for the WSA franchise in it inaugural season in 1986 and served as head coach for the following four years, compiling a 35-23 record. In 1989, Armstrong was considered as the “dean of WSL coaches” by league management, became a member of the WSL Executive Committee. He is currently the men’s soccer head coach at the Univ. of California-San Diego, one of the nation’s top Division II schools. He has never suffered a losing season in 16 years at the helm, compiling a 234-71-29 mark and capturing three national championships.

San Diego will kick off its 2001 A-League season Thursday at Mesa College’s Douglas Stadium against the Milwaukee Rampage.

San Diego Nomads History


Year   League   Season   Playoffs
1986    WSA     4-6-4       --
1987    WSA       6-4      1-0     WSA Regular Season Champions, WSA Champions
1988    WSL       9-3     0-0-1*   Regular Season Runners-Up
1989    WSL      12-4      2-1     WSL South Division Champions, WSL Champions
WSL-ASL National Championship Runners-Up
1990    APSL     8-12       --
*Lost on penalty kicks