[USL PRO]Soccer-specific stadiums are a wonderful idea. If you can pay for them. Two days before the start of the club's season, the owners of the USL PRO Pittsburgh Riverhounds and their acclaimed riverfront Highmark Stadium sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure their obligations that include a $7.16 million mortgage, $1.5 million credit line and other debts owed to more than 50 creditors.
Principal owner Terrance Shallenberger moved to assure the club's players, fans and sponsors that it would move forward.
"We’ve taken steps to operate as lean as possible while still delivering a championship-level team and running a first-rate facility," he said. "To continue operations, we have determined it is necessary to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure high levels of existing debt and to ensure the long-term viability of the companies. We want our employees, fans and sponsors to know that our commitment to growing the game of soccer and to realizing the full potential of Highmark Stadium will continue during the reorganization process.”
The Riverhounds insisted said debts related to the construction of the 3,500-seat stadium at Station Square were the cause of the problems. Shallenberger assumed an ownership interest in the club after it opened the stadium in 2013. He will provide interim financing to operate the club as it proceeds through the bankruptcy process. In a statement, the club added that its season would start as scheduled, as would its academy program activities.
The Riverhounds had re-signed many of the players from the team that made the 2013 USL PRO playoffs with a 10-8-8 record and upgraded their roster with the addition of Brian Fekete from Orlando City, Anthony Obodai from FC Phoenix and former Fulham forward Collins John, as well as three loan players from the Houston Dynamo.