Va. Beach Piranhas folding after colorful 19-year run in PDL, W-League

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The Virginia Beach Piranhas are folding, just one year short of their 20th anniversary.

The Southeast Virginia-based club, which competes in both the USL W-League (women’s) and the USL PDL (men’s) pro-am leagues, has announced that health problems impacting president Marcie Laumann will force her to put aside her longtime labor of love after two decades.

The Piranhas’ W-League franchise is the oldest in the United Soccer League, and highly decorated over the past 19 years. The team has won the W-League championship and Laumann has won Executive of the Year twice, the Marketing Award of Excellence and the Archie Moylan Courage Award for Dedicated Community Service. The men’s team began life as the Virginia Beach Submariners, the reserve team of the now-defunct, lower-division professional team Virginia Beach Mariners.

She and her husband, James “Doc” Laumann, were inducted into the USL Hall of Fame in 2004. The Piranhas had the best regular-season record in the W-League in 2013 and were crowned regular season champions. Since 2007, Laumann has also been managing the Virginia Beach PDL team, which reached the first round of the playoffs this past year.

The couple’s full-time job responsibilities in other fields and Marcie’s growing complications from Type 1 diabetes have finally forced them to ease back on their commitments.

“It’s at the point now after 38 years, that your diabetic body just tells you to slow down a little bit,” Marcie told the Virginian-Pilot, stating that she has undergone four eye surgeries over the past 17 years and has been warned that her vision is at risk should another prove necessary.

“I’d love for the PDL and W-League teams’ legacy to continue, but unfortunately, I’m not physically able to do what it takes to make that happen in the next season,” said Laumann in a press release.

She says she “has met with several interested groups to take over management of the teams, but so far none have fully committed to taking the teams into the 2014 season.”

Both Piranhas teams played home matches at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex in recent years and helped groom many future college and professional standouts, including current MLS players Corey Ashe, David Horst, Tony Tchani and Aaron Wheeler.

Piranhas teams were also graced by an array of interesting characters from around the world like Edson Elcock, Henry Kalungi and Yomby William.