Nashville Metros lose league affiliation, franchise appears in danger

After 24 years, future of soccer team in doubt

Nashville's presence in the American soccer ladder appears to be in mortal danger.

In a statement, United Soccer Leagues said the Nashville Metros — the longest, continuously-owned franchise in that level of American soccer — are no longer part of the league.

"The Nashville Metros were unable/unwilling to continue to comply with certain league standards/deadlines in order to participate in the 2013 [Professional Development League] season and as a result are no longer members of USL," the league said in a statement to NashvillePost.com.

The PDL is the fourth-tier of the American soccer league pyramid.

Metros officials could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. Questions were raised among fans after the team was not included on the PDL schedule, released two weeks ago. The team's website has not been updated since May 2012.

Former Metros general manager Desmond Armstrong said on Thursday that majority owner Martin Maciel "decided he did not want to participate in the league."

Armstrong said Maciel told the USL in September that "he was going to take a year break and then come back" and will spend 2013 focusing on Calor de San Pedro, his club in the Mexican second division. He left open the possibility that the club will return in 2014.

Armstrong, a former U.S. national team member, is busy building a youth academy which, he said, "was going to filter into the first team. But it's separate from the Metros. My piece will be known as FC Nashville."

In the summer of 2011, the franchise inked a three-year sponsorship deal with Fifth Third Bank to provide the necessary upgrades to move the Metros up to the USL Pro Level, with an eye to eventually drawing a Major League Soccer franchise to Nashville.

That dream — along with any professional or semi-pro soccer presence in the Music City at all — will, at best, be deferred.