Virginia Beach City FC Launches Professional Team in 2019
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (November 26, 2018) – Virginia Beach City FC announced today it will upgrade its current semi-professional men's soccer team to field a professional men's soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) in 2019 joining Richmond Kickers and Loudoun United as the only other professional soccer teams based in Virginia competing on a national stage. Virginia Beach City FC is the first soccer club in Hampton Roads to provide the full player development pyramid from youth and amateur to professional on a year-round basis.
“We are excited to be launching a professional soccer team in Hampton Roads, Virginia under the Virginia Beach City FC banner,” said Steven Wagoner, VB City FC President and Owner. “This is another step forward in the Hampton Roads Metro region to have the full player development pathway and also give fans their very own professional team.”
The NPSL is one of the most successful adult leagues in the United States with over 100 teams nationwide wide. NPSL teams averaged up to 5,250 in attendance in 2017 (Ex. Detroit City FC 5,255 and Chattanooga FC 4,400). Chattanooga FC drew a league record of 18,227 fans in attendance on August 8, 2015 for the NPSL Finals.
As a professional team, VB City FC will deliver a longer season of top-tier soccer to Hampton Roads soccer fans, along with increasing national media awareness for soccer in the community. In addition, the club is expected to create additional jobs, plus event-related staff for home matches and community events. VB City FC plans to further enhance the game day experience for fans.
VB City FC has consistently been one of the most successful NPSL teams regionally during the regular season over the last 5 years and has also earned a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Berth competing against local professional club Richmond Kickers in the 2nd round (2015).
The club has had players drafted in the MLS SuperDraft (e.g. Sidney Rivera, 2014; Michael Nelson 2015) and promoted youth players within the VB City FC Academy to MLS Development Academy programs (Samuel Jones and Julian Barrios, 2018 to D.C. United Academy).
On February 2, 2018 VB City FC announced a multi-year agreement with D.C. United of MLS exclusively in Hampton Roads, VA to provide coaching education opportunities, friendly matches as well as to identify and help develop talent for D.C. United. Brian Hinkey, VP of Soccer Operations and Head Coach, was named as the D.C. United Head Scout of the Hampton Roads, VA Metro Region. Coach Hinkey will also lead VB City FC's professional side in 2019.
"We are now able to take the next step in our development and provide a viable professional platform and full developmental structure from our grassroots level to our professional level," said Brian Hinkey, VB City FC Head Coach and Vice President of Soccer Operations. "We are excited for the challenge and are committed to creating platforms for players to excel both in our youth academy and pro level."
Virginia Beach City FC, founded in 2013, has operated a semi-professional soccer team signing top collegiate and professional athletes to amateur contracts and competing in the NPSL. The club will offer a similar program branded as Virginia Beach City FC U-23 moving forward in addition to the professional team. The league and competition platform for the U-23s will be announced at a future time.