NWSL News: Western New York Flash Sold to FC North Carolina!


Multiple sources have confirmed that the Western New York Flash will be sold to FC Carolina owner Stephen Malik. He also owns the Carolina RailHawks.

The Western New York Flash are moving south!

Confirmed by several sources, including equalizersoccer.com and fourfourtwo.com, expect a formal announcement in the next several days. This move will dominate league headlines just days before the NWSL Draft on Jan. 12, 2017.

Stephen Malik of Cary, NC, will become the owner of the WNY Flash. He represents the FC North Carolina group, which owns the former Carolina RailHawks, now North Carolina FC, franchise in the NASL. North Carolina FC have expressed interest  in expansion in the NWSL, as well as placing a bid for MLS and building a new 20,000-seat stadium.

Malik recently purchased the rights to the name “Carolina Courage.”  As some of you may remember, that was the name  of the WUSA women’s soccer team back around 2000 to 2002.  So, at this point, the team’s new name is unclear.

Overall, this move may make sense to some, but not to others. The Rochester/Buffalo market is a smaller national market compared to the North Carolina Charlotte/Durham areas. However, the WUSA’s Carolina Courage failed to capitalize on this market, even with collegiate women’s soccer powerhouses of Duke and North Carolina University in the vicinity.

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Attracting college students as loyal paying sports fans is never a guarantee. Also. would fans also come out to see players in the oppressive summer heat and humidity conditions? The Railhawks average a higher attendance in the NASL, so will those fans translate over, hoping to boost a MLS bid? The move will be finalized prior to the start of the 2017 season.