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Whitecaps In Limbo Between USL and New Owners' League
Vancouver Sun, October 29th, 2009 4PM

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The Vancouver Whitecaps will join Major League Soccer in 2011. But the team still doesn't know which league it will play in next season. The Whitecaps' membership in the USL-1 league looks less likely every day.

In an interview with Montreal radio station CKAC Wednesday, USL CEO Alec Papadakis suggested both Canadian teams - the Whitecaps and the Montreal Impact - would not return to the USL as negotiations with these teams had finished. The USL, however, later issued a clarifying statement to say that those teams have not officially left USL yet. "While the statements made in the earlier interview were accurate in that we have ceased negotiations with the (breakaway) Team Owner's Association as a group, we remain in dialogue with certain individual TOA teams about their possible participation in USL-1 for 2010. We are open to the return of the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps to USL-1 for 2010; however, we continue to move forward with our preparations for next season."

Whitecaps' president Bob Lenarduzzi acknowledged Wednesday his team and the Team Owners Association, formed in 2008, are continuing plans to formalize a new circuit. He said that by the end of the week the TOA will have made an application to the U.S. Soccer Federation to grant them new league status. But Lenarduzzi still isn't ruling out the Whitecaps' participation in USL. "While it's true we haven't been in dialogue with the USL we have never been told we wouldn't be welcome back nor have we made a decision that we will be back," he said. "We're still in limbo." For Lenarduzzi, either possibility could happen. Only one thing is for sure. "One way or another the Whitecaps will be playing soccer next season," he said.

 

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