In Loudoun, here comes the Cavalry of the NASL

|
Sports,Craig Stouffer

Name of team is revealed

A second professional soccer club in the D.C. area is saddling up in Loudoun County.

On Wednesday, the North American Soccer League expansion team that will begin play in 2014 revealed its name will be Virginia Cavalry FC, chosen over Dominion and Stallions in an online contest. With a stadium deal in process and feverish work under way to lay down roots, it's a fitting name for a club that expects to take the region by storm as part of the continent's ambitious second-tier league.

"It was far and away the No.?1 choice by the fans," said David D'Onofrio, director of communications for both the Cavalry and the Loudoun Hounds baseball club of the independent Atlantic League. Both teams are part of VIP Sports and Entertainment, which will share the stadium proposed for the One Loudoun development at the intersection of Route 7 and the Loudoun County Parkway in Ashburn.

The NASL doesn't have the clout, talent level or reputation of Major League Soccer, but it has aspirations to match the league from which it has taken its name. Its initial appeal will be similar to minor league baseball but could grow. The addition of the resurrected New York Cosmos, which will begin play in 2014 along with Virginia, Ottawa and Indianapolis, will help jump the league from eight to 12 teams.

"I think we create our own identity no matter what they label us, being smart with business decisions and not just growing us as a team but helping other organizations to build the game and the league," Cavalry director of soccer operations Mark Simpson said.

The venue, sporting an artificial playing surface and 5,500 permanent seats -- and the ability to accommodate about 10,000 spectators -- will be the showpiece for what Simpson likes to call a development that will be "Reston Town Center on steroids."

But Simpson believes his work behind the scenes to establish a youth development academy will anchor the professional team to the community and create its fan base. The former D.C. United goalkeeper and assistant coach, who left the team two years ago, has been involved for the last 18 months.

Simpson hopes to name a coach in the next three to four months, by which point the stadium could be approved, leaving enough time to complete construction by spring 2014.

"It's been an absolute blast," Simpson said. "It's been a big challenge, and this just from a timing perspective, it needs to be done right. It's been neat being part of this from the ground up."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment