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Ottawa Fury FC shuts down

(The following is a note posted by John Pugh, president of the Fury FC, to their website announcing the end of the club.)

It’s with a very heavy-heart that I write this. Ottawa Fury FC has notified the United Soccer League, Canada Soccer and our staff, players and coaches that the club has suspended operations. We will not compete in the USL Championship (USL) or any other league in 2020.

Why would an established team which made the playoffs in the 2019 USL Championship season, had the 2nd best season in its 6-year history, developed a loyal fan base and won a league award for its team and game day operations be suspending operations? Politics. Fury’s participation in the USL requires sanctioning from soccer’s governing bodies—Canada Soccer, US Soccer Federation and CONCACAF. Despite our best efforts over a period of many months, we were unable to obtain full sanctioning and since schedules must be developed, players signed and tickets sold, we simply ran out of time.

One of the proudest moments of my life was in the spring of 2014 when we established our men’s professional team, Ottawa Fury FC. I will never forget the first ever game at Carleton, or the opening match at TD Place against the NY Cosmos before 14,000 fans. An exhibition game against the famous Glasgow Rangers followed soon after. In 2015, coach Marc Dos Santos led our team to its first silverware by winning the NASL Fall Season. We went on to win the Championship semi-final at TD Place against Minnesota before losing to our nemesis, the NY Cosmos in the Championship Final. We have twice defeated MLS opposition at TD Place in the Canadian Championship. Despite our sanctioning troubles in pre-season, in 2019, GM Julian de Guzman and Coach Nikola Popovic put together an attractive attacking team that took us to the playoffs once again.

I am also immensely proud of the contribution that Fury FC has been able to make in the development of Canadian players. In 2018, for example, under the leadership of General Manager and Canadian legend Julian de Guzman, Fury FC had a USL roster that included eighteen Canadians and recorded the most minutes played by Canadian professional players of any professional club in the world.

I’d like to thank all the players, coaches and staff that have come through the Ottawa Fury system, the sponsors who support us, the fans that support us, the media that covers us, and particularly my ownership partners for making it all possible.

It’s been a great ride. Thank you all.