By Charles Boehm
Real Maryland FC announced that the club is suspending operations this week after five years of competition in the USL Second Division and Premier Development League.
“The ownership group has decided to forgo next season as they have turned their attentions in another direction,” said club general manager David Noyes in an email. “At this time, I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who helped out with Real Maryland FC over the course of the past five years.”
The decision to shut down also applies to the club’s youth programs, which had enjoyed substantial success in USL Super Y-League competition. RMFC’s Under-12, U-13 and U-15 boys teams will take part in the Super Y League North American National Finals in Bradenton, Fla. Dec. 7-11, which will mark the club’s last competitive action for at least a year.
Noyes said he attempted to secure new owner/investors for the club in cooperation with USL, but ran out of time. As a result, the club’s rights have reverted to the league, leaving open the faint possibility of a rebirth in future years.
“The turnaround time for a new group to come in for the 2013 season has proven to be too short of a window for potential investors,” wrote Noyes. “While this is a sad and unfortunate turn of events, I don’t believe that this will be the last time the area will see a USL PRO/PDL/W-League franchise.”
Real Maryland were created in 2007 and began play in the USL Second Division, the nation’s third-tier professional level, in April 2008. The club started ambitiously, signing notable Salvadoran players Dennis Alas and Ronald Cerritos in an effort to connect with Latino fans and playing home matches at the Maryland SoccerPlex’s stadium. But Real endured a rough inaugural campaign that ended with a 3-15-2 record.
Matters improved under new coach Anthony Hudson the following year as the Monarchs reached the playoffs, with Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md. serving as a more centrally located home venue.
But like most lower-division pro soccer franchises, a profitable revenue model was elusive and Real Maryland moved to the pro-am PDL three seasons later. There the club focused on developing talented college-age players as an extension of its youth team structures, and struck up regional rivalries with the likes of the Northern Virginia Royals and Fredericksburg Hotspur.
Real Maryland’s demise, at least for now, marks another unfortunate addition to the nation’s long list of defunct soccer clubs through the years.
“Please keep playing the game like there is no tomorrow, support one another and you will reach great heights,” concluded Noyes.