NASL suspends operation of Atlanta Silverbacks

The North American Soccer League has suspended its operation of the Atlanta Silverbacks, a team the league operated last season as it searched for a long-term local ownership group.

The suspension is for the 2016 season and “possibly beyond,” the league said in a statement. The Silverbacks were founded in 1998 and started playin in the NASL in 2011.

“The goal all along has been to secure committed local ownership in Atlanta, but despite significant conversations with a number of interested parties, we were unable to identify a group that could lead the Silverbacks in a direction consistent with the rest of our clubs,” NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate, and particularly sad for the Silverbacks’ passionate fan base, which has supported the club tremendously throughout the years.”

The NASL kicks off its sixth season in April. Three new clubs will be playing in the league this year: Miami FC, Puerto Rico FC, and Rayo OKC.

“We have made incredible strides in just five short years, and one of the key pillars of our league’s growth and improvement has been the emergence of a group of committed owners who believe in the long-term NASL plan,” Peterson said. “Unfortunately in Atlanta – a market we continue to believe could be successful in the NASL – there wasn’t an ownership group identified that met the very specific standards we hold ourselves to as a league.”

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