“Listen, I get it,” he stated. “When I started in this position, we said we were going to be open and transparent and talk about how this club operates. It’s been very quiet the last few months. And a big part of that is people have questions. I have many of the same questions that our fans have and I don’t have answers at the moment to all of them.”
“But, we do hope, over the next few weeks, that we will start addressing some of the questions that are out there,” he continued. “And I know when there’s an information vacuum, then the speculation starts, people start making up scenarios, conspiracy theories, and all this stuff and it’s not how I want to operate a club, but we’ve been in a situation for several months now where not speculating publicly about answers that we don’t have has been the best tactic.”
“I know it’s been hard for everybody, it’s not how I want to operate this team but, I think we’re going to be coming out of this soon and we’ll have a lot of information to share over the next few weeks.”
However, he was able to lay one rumor to rest: the possibility of the Cosmos selling the hosting rights to the NASL Final. Originally reported by Fifty Five-One, it was reported that the club might be considering selling the rights to host the NASL Final should they win their semifinal. With scheduling complications at Hofstra, it appeared unlikely the Cosmos would be able to host the match at their home ground since 2013.
“We haven’t made a final decision on that yet, but we hope to make an announcement here soon. But, the rumor and the blog story about selling the game is not true. We’re not selling the game. There may have been some discussion on some level, not involving me to think about selling it, but I don’t think anybody in our organization thought that was a good decision. And it’s always been about trying to manage the challenges we have at Hofstra.”
“We were willing to possibly play the Soccer Bowl, if we advance, on a weekday. I think the league was okay with that. And we just couldn’t get any cooperation out of the university for that kind of decision and it’s been very frustrating. So we’ve had a few options throughout this year that we’ve been bouncing back and forth on what’s the best and none of them are perfect. We have a great record playing here, our guys are comfortable playing here and we would ideally want to play our championship here.”
“That’s not going to happen, but where we play in the New York Metro area, we expect to announce in the coming days.”
On the subject of home fields, TICC did inquire if there were any updates as to what facility the Cosmos would call home for the 2017 season.
“Nothing I could share at this point.”
TICC attempted to find out any updates on the status of the three teams in question for 2017: the Tampa Bay Rowdies, the Ottawa Fury, and Rayo OKC. Stover had no input as he is not involved in those discussions However, he did share his thoughts on the recent NASL Summit, indicating that positive things had come out of that meeting, but there was still plenty of work to be done and many questions to be answered by the NASL in light of the rumors circulating about the state of the league.
“Well, I wasn’t in that meeting, I didn’t participate. I don’t know what was discussed. I think it was a good meeting from what I hear from people who participated in a volatile time to sit down and talk about all these things. I’ve been very open, on my personal opinion, that I think the 5 to 10-year process of US Soccer growing is going to be volatile. That things are going to happen that look like sideways steps or steps backwards and, in some cases, they are steps backwards. But I think the Commissioner and the Board of Governors have a lot of work to do over the next few months.”
He closed out with a thought that could appeal to both Cosmos fans and fans around the league.
“From what I understand, it’s not as doomsday as some folks may think it is of some rumors that have been out there. But, similar to the Cosmos, NASL fans have questions that need to be answered and I think that’ll happen over the next few months.”