Ajax America acknowledged today that the club is actively participating in discussions to pursue an equity stake in a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise. Ajax America, the exclusive American affiliate of AFC Ajax (Amsterdam), is pursuing an equity stake with investment groups in Kansas City, MO and San Jose, CA.
The company currently operates a youth academy, conducts national tournaments and national training schools and manages a Premier Development League (PDL) team. Associating with a MLS franchise bridges the gap between Ajax and the highest level of American soccer.
Investing in a professional soccer team is the next logical step in our companys growth plan, stated Ajax America president and CEO Mark Dillon. We will aggressively pursue the opportunity that meets our expansion objectives.
Rich Bradley, Ajax America executive vice president and COO, implied that establishing an Orlando-based team is a logical and ideal expansion option because Central Florida serves as Ajax Americas national headquarters and has a strong, supportive soccer community. However, Bradley added that he did not expect either the Earthquakes or the Wizards to relocate to Orlando.
Ajax explored Orlando as a location for expansion largely due to the areas successful soccer history, including the 1994 World Cup, stated Rich Bradley. We still believe that the potential exists to bring a professional team to Orlando, however, at this time we have an opportunity to immediately attain our goal of an association with a Major League Soccer team in another market.
No time frame has been established to complete a deal with either investment group, Bradley added.