NASL to add Orange County club, sues Fort Lauderdale Strikers

A new club in Orange County, California, will join the North American Soccer League in 2018, the organization announced on Wednesday, the same day it sued the dormant Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

The addition of the new California team, owned by businessman Pete Capriotti, will be the league's second team on the West Coast after the San Francisco Deltas began play this year.

The club, which is "currently considering several names," will play at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Stadium, a 10,000-seat venue that hosted six U.S. national team friendlies in the lead-up to the 1994 World Cup, as well as one friendly just after the FIFA event and one more in 2005.

"When I decided I wanted to become an owner, the NASL business model was the only one that appealed to me," Capriotti said. "I like the freedom the NASL gives each club, and the fact that each club owns its player registrations. Overall, I was really impressed with the way the NASL approached our conversations and the amount of detail and overall care they dedicated to the process."

The new team will be the ninth in the NASL, which overcame financial difficulties and the departure of four clubs this offseason to secure its second-tier status within U.S. soccer.

Meanwhile, the NASL has filed a lawsuit against the Strikers, who are not playing in the league this season following financial struggles.

As first reported by Empire of Soccer, Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards filed a claim, seeking repayments of loans that allowed the Strikers to finish last season, and the league then filed a crossclaim, saying it should be entitled to any excess funds beyond Edwards' loans from the sale of Fort Lauderdale's assets.

Edwards moved his Tampa Bay team to the USL this season and is attempting to secure an expansion bid to move to MLS. The NASL is still trying to sell the Fort Lauderdale club.