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Futsal teams buyout kicks off new links with the US
OXFORD City’s sporting empire is being further expanded after its co-owner launched two indoor football clubs in the United States.
Wall Street businessman Thomas Anthony Guerriero, above, has bought futsal franchises in South Florida and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for an undisclosed amount.
They will use the Oxford City name and could link up with the Oxford City futsal team in the UK.
Mr Guerriero, who also owns the Oxford City football club and Hoops basketball team, said it could boost all three Oxford-based clubs’ finances.
He said: “It’s an avenue to expand the Oxford City brand globally and could have huge implications. They play in front of crowds of between 10,000 and 12,000 in the US. It will get us in a position where brand awareness goes around the world and any time there are jerseys sold and sponsorship money coming in, then it will benefit Oxford City.”
The clubs will play in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), the biggest professional indoor football league in North America.
They will be called Oxford City South Florida and Oxford City Sioux Falls, with players being traded between the United States and England.
Mr Guerriero, who bought the futsal team when it was known as Oxford City Lions in 2012 for an undisclosed amount, said: “One team plays in the American mid-west and another in the south, and we will try get a team in each part of the US.
“It will give players in the US the chance to impress and end up in England, and vice-versa.”
Meanwhile, the Oxford City Football Club, almost relegated from the Skrill Conference North last season, last month created a general manager position for Justin Merritt, a former manager at the club. It also replaced manager Mike Ford with his former coach Enrique Guillen, co-founder of the futsal club.
Mr Guerriero said: “We have a clear vision about what we want for the club but this means we need everyone to have a shared philosophy so we can progress as an organisation.
“We’re definitely looking forward to the new era of Oxford City.”
Futsal is a South American variation of football played on a smaller pitch, mainly indoors.
It was developed mainly in Brazil and Uruguay in the 1930s and 1940s.
Its name comes from the Portugese translation of “hall football” and is a version of five-a-side football.
Unlimited substitutions are permitted but a smaller ball is used with less bounce than a regular football, designed to emphasise ball control, technique and short passing.
Oxford City futsal team was founded in 2011 by Enrique Guillen and Chris Chesterman and won the first Oxfordshire Futsal League.
They were invited to the National Futsal League Midlands division, which they won in 2012.
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