San Antonio’s new professional soccer team – the San Antonio Scorpions FC – will be out to sting the competition when exciting North American Soccer League (NASL) action kicks off early next year.
A panel of judges from the South Texas Area Regional (STAR) Soccer Complex, NASL San Antonio, Morgan’s Wonderland and The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation selected Scorpions from more than 1,000 entries in the “Name Our Team” contest. Philanthropist Gordon Hartman also unveiled plans for the Scorpions’ new home at STAR Soccer.
A dozen fans among the 1,000-plus entrants submitted the name Scorpions, so a drawing by 17-year-old Morgan Hartman – namesake of Morgan’s Wonderland – determined Carolyn Lummus of San Antonio as the winner of a prize package. It includes accompanying the Scorpions on a road trip, dinner with the team’s head coach, a private soccer clinic with Scorpions players, four season seats for the team’s inaugural season and a package of equipment to include a Scorpions jersey autographed by the players.
“Scorpions are feisty, tough critters indigenous to South Texas,” said Hartman, who’s heading Soccer for a Cause, the community-wide campaign that’s bringing pro soccer to San Antonio to further boost the sport’s growing popularity and to benefit Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible family fun park designed with special-needs individuals of all ages in mind. “The judges liked the name Scorpions because of their fierce reputation and fighting spirit that we’re confident our team will display on the playing field.”
Hartman also outlined plans to construct a 5,400-seat facility at STAR Soccer next to Morgan’s Wonderland in Northeast San Antonio that will serve as home of the Scorpions. The facility can easily be expanded to 18,000 seats and accommodate a move up to Major League Soccer (MLS), he noted.
“STAR Soccer cost $10 million, and approximately half of the funding came from private sources,” Hartman said. “We intend to build on the infrastructure already in place to create an up-to-date-yet-affordable playing facility for the Scorpions that can also host high school and collegiate tournaments as well as performances and other special events. To accomplish all this, we’re seeking approximately $8 million in public funding for a venue that will serve our community in many ways, not just pro soccer.”
Hartman urged soccer fans and citizens interested in Soccer for a Cause to contact their local elected officials and express strong support for providing the funding necessary to build a facility that meets professional-soccer standards. He said information on how to get in touch with those officials is readily available at www.SoccerforaCause.com. Construction must begin this spring to adhere to a tight timeline leading up to NASL play in March 2012, he added.
“Time is tight because another NASL team from Canada is moving up to MLS in 2012,” Hartman explained. “This has made it possible for us to take the slot occupied by the Canadian team and field our own NASL team in 2012. That’s why we’re moving quickly to take advantage of this great opportunity.”
Hartman said his pro soccer plan has garnered innumerable expressions of support from San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, other elected officials, business and civic leaders, soccer fans and Morgan’s Wonderland supporters.
“We believe this is the first time a pro sports team has been organized whereby every cent of net revenue goes to support special-needs individuals,” Hartman said. “Morgan’s Wonderland has profoundly touched the lives of children and adults with special needs, their families and friends. In our first season in 2010, we attracted more than 100,000 guests from 47 states and 13 other countries.
“It takes a lot of money to operate and maintain the park in tip-top condition, especially when you admit special-needs individuals free of charge. The Scorpions will generate revenue that will make it possible to keep Morgan’s Wonderland open for years and years to come.”
Hartman acknowledged the existence of another group that’s talked of forming their own pro soccer team. “We’re well on our way toward bringing in the highest level of professional soccer currently available to San Antonio, just one step removed from MLS,” he said. “The other group’s announced plans call for a team in a lower, third-tier league. We believe our approach makes much more sense for our community as a whole and certainly for those with special needs in our midst.”
Now that San Antonio’s NASL team has a name, the next step will be to create a team logo. Both professional and amateur designers will be invited to submit entries, and fans will have the opportunity to vote online and choose a logo from three finalists selected by a Soccer for a Cause judging panel. Details of the “Design Our Team Logo” contest will be released before the end of the month, and that will be followed by a “Design Our Uniform” contest.
Fans who don’t want to miss any Scorpions action can reserve season seats for the 2012 inaugural season. A $25 deposit will place the fan on a priority list and give him or her the right to select a specific seat location at a “Select Your Seat” event. To reserve their season seat plans, fans can visit www.SoccerforaCause.com, call toll-free (855) 333-2012 or stop by STAR Soccer at Thousand Oaks and Wurzbach Parkway between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Scorpions fans also can follow the building of their team at http://www.facebook.com/NASLSanAntonio or http://www.twitter.com/NASL_SA.