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United Soccer League discontinues relationship with Hammerheads

The future of Wilmington's professional soccer team is in doubt. Right now, the Wilmington Hammerheads no longer exist, technically. The United Soccer Leauge has removed the Hammerheads from its list of franchises due to certain financial requirements not being met. Historically, the Hammerheads have been one of the best franchises in the league, but the team has struggled financially the last year. Chuck Sullivan has owned the team since 2008. Al Pastore founded the Hammerheads in 1996. While he is no longer affiliated, he hated to hear the bad news. “I'm very disappointed having started it. I remember one game, it was the last game of the year, and I said to my son sitting in the stands, ‘Brian, it's really nice to have done this’. It's very sad that it happened,” said Pastore. Laney High School student Will Sharp said, “I'm going to miss the Hammerheads because I enjoyed going to their games. I didn't see it coming.” Al Pastore is currently the head coach of New Hanover High School soccer.

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The big picture is a lost

The big picture is a lost cause with the NHHS Lax crowd. The Hammerheads have been in the community since 1996...long before Lax was being played in the county. The numbers of people in the county who are touched by the Hammerheads...FAR FAR outnumber the NHHS Lax group. The team has contibuted to the county in the form of countless non-profit donations, free clinics and camps for inter city kids,tax revenue in the form of room occupancy taxes, paid rent for the use of Legion, donated equipment to NHHS for their use,generated revenue for the city in the form of concession commissions, generated income for a variety of local vendors/small businesses, free season tickets for kids,generated national and regional publicity for the city on national cable TV and other press outlets, brought dozens of well respected players to our community who have now made wilmington their home, pay taxes and hold a variety of professional jobs. The team generates an average of 25-35 thousand fans per season. All while NHHS and the Jamboree have first priority on the use of the facility and NOT contributing one dime to the maintenance of Legion. The Board of Education however does contribute to the debt service on the bond that funded the restoration of Legion...but NHHS spends not one dime. I would think anyone with a spec of common sense would see the Hammerheads contribution to the community is quite signifcant especially standing beside the NHHS Lax teams...which by the way use the second field at Legion and efforts are underway to improve the second field in large part to satisify the tiny but loud and complaining Lax voices. The fact is we have only so much space in the county to satisy all the sporting demands and shared use is the only solution. I would also offer that in adddition the Hammerheads...the Sharks and Football Tigers also give far more to the community than they take away. It is obvious to me the LAX crowd are in line with the "takers" and certianly NOT the givers to our community.


So the team is no what? There was not too much of a fan base anyway. This is certainly not a big deal like thge media is trying to make it. WHO REALLY CARES?

Hammerhead fan from NY

I really enjoy USL soccer and became a fan of the Hammerheads a few years back. Since a bunch of our fellow football/soccer friends jumped on board. The Hammers have more fans then you think. I also hear rumors that the team may be back for next season!

Who cares?

Excuse me, but I care. I live in Charlotte NC, and my local team plays in the same league as the Hammers did. The Hammers have been a significant and constant part of the pro-soccer landscape in the SE for over a decade, and the sport is very much the poorer for their demise. I don't know the politics involved in this, I am sure the arguments against them continuing are heartfelt as mine are for them. But I think it is incredibly sad that my sport has lost yet another fine team. I will miss watching the Hammers very much, but certainly not as much as the 1500-2000 good folk I believe used to turn up to regular season games (up to 5000 for play-off games, way more than many USSF2 teams).

I also think it is incredibly sad that an organization like the Hammers can be removed from the league because of this kind of controversy. Very, very sad all round. I do wish people could disagree about stuff without demonizing or taunting those they oppose. Really? Na na na na na??? Wow.

Statement by "Who Really Cares"

Alot of people care. Anytime you lose a venue like a Professional sports team its a big deal. You lose JOBS.....I think you should look at the BIG PICTURE not the little one your brain is letting you see.

ok, the hammerheads has the

ok, the hammerheads has the third highest attendance in their league. i know they are not the top level of soccer, but it is still great to watch. losing the team would be a heavy lose for local soccer fans, with the other closest teams being in charlotte and charleston. and it is a big deal, this team has been here for over a decade and even won the league last year (in case you dont support local sports at all and dont know that!) i just hope that they find a new group of investors that can keep the team around. and that other locals will support them, unlike you...

Re: Well maybe

Well maybe now NHHS boys and girls lax can finally get to use the field that is designated "Home of the Wildcats" instead of the substandard backfield.

Keep complaining about your

Keep complaining about your LAX teams not using the field. It's not the Hammers that keep you off the field, it's the fact that one LAX game destroys the field more than 20 Hammers games and the Legion Workers don't want to watch their baby get destroyed when there is a perfectly fine field in the back.

Re: For your Information

Look Ruponzo or BOZO as the case should be!!! IT IS THE HAMMERHEADS contract that precludes New Hanover High School from getting full use of that field. Ask the Legion Commission, NHHS Athletic Director and the NHHS Lax Coach. Have you ever attended a lax game-DOUBTFUL. If you check out you will see the LAX players do no more damage to the field than soccer players or football players do. These kids have every right to use a field that has been designated for them. There is a difference between complaining and standing up for what is right. The Legion By-laws provide for NHHS Sports get #1 priority use of Legion field, not the Hammerheads. It is about time those By-laws are enforced, so everyone sign with me Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Hammerheads GOODBYE!!!!!

For YOUR Information

Lax has to build and earn a prescence just as soccer has had to do for the past 15-20 yrs. And regardless, your complaints are falling on deaf ears. How can you make the loss of a Professional sports team, and a darn good one, on the same level as High School Lax?? There is no professional future for any lax players out there, not if they have any hopes of making a decent salary that is, so talk about "who cares"!!! The hammer heads are a jump off to the MLS for so many players. Dont talk about things you know nothing about, no offense, but that stadium is owned BY THE COUNTY!! not solely NHHS. Are you kidding me with that contract non sense. Truth be told its an American FOOTBALL staidum. Hammer Head soccer brings in more dollars than HS Lax ever will, attracts for attention and exposure than LAX ever will, and is simply better for this commnunity hands down. Think about all the kids who were involved with the hammer head organization.... We are about to start the World Cup, soccer is a big deal and mean alot to so many people in this town, in this state, and this entire country. Hammer Head soccer has had an effect of so many people Nation wide per year for anyone to insult what they have done as a Pro Sports Organziation is completely disrespectful. Open your mind simpleton, dont be such a mental midget. That team bring thousands of poeple to this area annually.

wow... and you call yourself

wow... and you call yourself a parent......Is this the example that you are setting? Na Na Na