In its search for a new stadium, Jacksonville Armada FC indicates that it is still considering numerous aspects of plans for its long-term home.
For 2018, the Armada will compete in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) while the NASL suspends play for the season. The club is returning to Hodges Stadium this year, but it appears that it is pursuing a longer term stadium plan.
Armada owner Robert Palmer publicly discussed the situation last month, noting that the team was looking for a solution in Jacksonville. For right now, the team is not disclosing any firm plans for a new stadium, as club president Nathan Walter indicated recently that an evaluation process is still unfolding. More from The Florida Times-Union:
Walter said the Armada is still evaluating many “moving parts” regarding the long-term stadium plans, and that the team is looking at an “interim option” for its venue beyond the 2018 NPSL season. He said he expects that situation to become clearer within the next three to four weeks.
The Armada will play NPSL games this season, like last year, at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium. Jacksonville University is set as the venue for any early-round games in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, starting May 6 against The Villages SC.
Prior to moving to Hodges Stadium last year, the Armada played home matches at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, which is primarily the home of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Class AA; Southern League). The Armada played in the NASL for the last several years. However, that league’s future has been in question since the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) announced last September that it would not be granted Division II status for 2018.
Following that decision, NASL owners sued and asked for an immediate injunction. That failed, and NASL appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, only for the appeal to fail. Eventually, the league announced the cancellation of the 2018 season and that three remaining members–Jacksonville, Miami FC, and the New York Cosmos–would compete in the semi-pro NPSL.
Image courtesy Jacksonville Armada.