Reno 1868, one of the most successful clubs in the USL Championship, has folded.
In a statement to Reno soccer fans, 1868 FC president Eric Edelstein
said the decision was driven by the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:
“Like you, this isn’t the way we saw 2020 going. With that said, we have made the gut-wrenching decision to cease our participation in the USL Championship. Today we find ourselves in a world-wide community beset by a pandemic and we are unexpectedly forced to make a tough decision. I am heartbroken to let go of Reno 1868 FC and I apologize to all who are disappointed that we are ending our participation in the USL Championship.”
In four seasons, Reno had a 62-26-28 record and earned a playoff berth each year. In 2020, Reno's 11-2-3 record was the best in the USL Championship, and Ian Russell
was named the USL Championship's Co-Coach of the Year.
Reno 1868 had a relationship with the San Jose Earthquakes, providing opportunities for young players on the MLS first team.
After two seasons with Reno, JT Marcinkowski
recently took the starting job in goal for the Quakes just as they started their late-season run to make the playoffs. Jackson Yueill
, who is now starting for the Quakes and a member of the U.S. national team, started six games for Reno in 2017, his first season out of UCLA. Cade Cowell
was only 15 when he made his pro debut with Reno in 2019. He has also been a contributor for the Quakes in 2020.
“Our successful model has helped propel players into the top-flight, both with the San Jose Earthquakes through players such as JT Marcinkowski, Jackson Yueill and Cade Cowell, along with ‘off the radar’ prospects like Sam Gleadle
, Chris Wehan
and others,” said Reno 1868 FC general manager Doug Raftery
Gleadle was one of three Reno players along with Foster Langsdorf
and Kevin Partida
who signed with MLS's Minnesota United after the USL season ended.
Reno 1868 played at Greater Nevada Field, a minor-league baseball stadium. Its future was building a new soccer stadium in Northern Nevada, a growing area, but the pandemic has made that unrealistic.
“Like everything, COVID just devastated the business, the industry, the near-term future,” Edelstein said on a video call with media. “I still am a huge believer in pro soccer and its growth in America, and hope that there will be a point that we re-enter in some way, shape, or form, but the near-term financial [outlook] was pretty dire.”