Jan 26, 2011

Norfolk SharX Join I-League (USL)

Team to call Norfolk Scope Arena home

TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer Leagues is proud to announce the addition of the Norfolk SharX to the I-League.  The SharX were unveiled today at a news conference in Norfolk featuring team CEO and President Marcie Laumann, founder and president of the Hampton Roads Piranhas teams that compete in the USL Premier Development League and W-League.

Scheduled to begin play this fall, the I-league also features the Rochester Lancers and a recently announced team in Syracuse, New York, with additional announcements expected soon.  Consistent with the model that has properly served USL for the past quarter-century, competition in the I-League will be regionally based in order to contain travel expenses, and culminate with a national championship to be held in early 2012.

“The I-League is much stronger today thanks to the addition of the Norfolk SharX,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “Marcie Laumann is one of the key figures in USL’s 25-year history, and we look forward to launching our newest league with her support.”

The SharX will kick off their first season at Norfolk Scope Arena this fall and expect to play 20 games per season, 10 at home and 10 on the road. The team also revealed its logo and team colors at the event and started its official countdown to kickoff.

“The Norfolk SharX are a fantastic addition to the I-League, which continues to build momentum as we head toward the opening kickoff in November,” I-League Senior Director Chris Economides said.  “With Marcie Laumann serving as CEO and President, there is no question that the SharX will enjoy a great deal of success just as her PDL and W-League teams have.”

Laumann is one of the majority owners of the team, which is wholly owned by Ariel Sports Group.  Laumann has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in soccer team ownership and management in USL. For the past 17 years she has led the Piranhas teams and has won numerous individual and team awards, and her teams have won championships. 

Laumann has been honored by the USL with the Archie Moylan Courage Award (2000), Marketing Excellence Award (2001), USL Executive of the Year (2002, 2007) and USL Organization of the Year (2003). In 2004, both Marcie and her husband, Doc, were inducted into the USL Hall of Fame.

“Everyone here at the SharX understands that community and corporate support is earned and not given or expected,” Marcie Laumann said. “We have worked hard behind the scenes for the past eight months to develop a franchise that today we are proud to introduce to our neighbors, friends, and family throughout Hampton Roads. 

“It is our goal to entrench our franchise in the community rather than making demands of our community. Although we intend to be fiercely competitive on the pitch, we recognize that the opportunity we have been given is much broader than the lines on the field. We will provide role models for our youth and support for as many community projects as we can, and this will have a far greater impact on Hampton Roads than the outcome of any game.”

The Piranhas women’s team, established in 1995, has appeared in the W-League playoffs seven times, winning four division/conference titles. The Piranhas were a league finalist in 1998 and 2003 and won the W-League Championship in 2003.  The men’s team, which she acquired in 2007, won the PDL Regular Season Championship in its inaugural season.  The team also won the PDL Eastern Conference Regular Season Championship and the PDL Mid-Atlantic Championship that season. 

The head coach for the Norfolk SharX will be announced in the upcoming weeks, as will information regarding players, tickets and schedules.

United Soccer Leagues
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, United Soccer Leagues has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (USL Super Y-League/USL Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (USL Premier Development League/USL W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO, I-League). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.