St. Louis' pro teams -- the men’s AC St. Louis of the USSF Division 2 Professional League and Athletica of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) -- are facing severe financial challenges. Major investors based in England contracted to support both teams through 2011 have run into “funding difficulties” that have put the teams at risk, according to sources.
Jeff Cooper, the local attorney who headed the efforts to start both teams, is attempting to put together additional funds to keep the clubs running. U.S. Soccer Federation spokesman Neil Buethe responded to questions about the financial health of AC St. Louis and the Athletica, saying, “U.S. Soccer is aware of some challenges that are currently going on and we are diligently working through the situation.”
Tony Hubert, the spokesman for both teams, said: “The expressions by U.S. Soccer and Women’s Professional Soccer also represent the respective positions of AC St. Louis and St. Louis Athletica. We’re working closely with each organization and appreciate their interest in the matter.”
Brothers Heemal and Sanjeev Vaid are the English investors who were introduced as directors of AC St. Louis when the team was announced last Dec. 8 and both are backers of the Athletica. Vaid owns a global commodity-trading firm while Heemal directs several companies in the English restaurant industry.