Update on Virginia’s NASL expansion club

Mark Simpson‘s e-mail accounts are bursting with two primary subject lines: mortgage loans and soccer inquiries.

The former D.C. United goalkeeper spends much of his day engrossed in the financial sector of Northern Virginia’s booming suburbs. His concurrent business is helping launch a North American Soccer League expansion club, Virginia Cavalry FC, which is scheduled to begin play in the U.S. second division next spring in Loudoun County, 30 miles west of Washington.

At last count, he said he had received between 50 and 75 e-mails from prospective head coaches and more than 400 player inquiries.

“You wouldn’t even believe it,” he said Monday. “They keep coming.”

Simpson, 47, is the Cavalry’s director of soccer operations; in essence, he will serve as the club’s technical director and general manager.

Building a roster will not begin in earnest until the winter. The coaching search, however, is underway, albeit in the early stages. The organization has begun internal discussions, reached out to candidates and started weighing who to invite for formal interviews. No specific timetable to finalize a hiring has been set, Simpson said.

Two other 2014 expansion teams have named head coaches: Ottawa Fury (Marc Dos Santos) and Indy Eleven (Juergen Sommer).

The Cavalry has committed to fielding a team at the start of 2014, which, like this year, might follow a split season. (The 2013 calendar is April 6 to July 4 and Aug. 3 to Nov. 2. The expansion New York Cosmos will debut in the second half of the season.)

VIP Sports & Entertainment has broken ground on a small stadium, Edelman Financial Field, at Loudoun County Parkway near Route 7, which will house the Cavalry and Loudoun Hounds, a minor league baseball team. The facility is part of the One Loudoun mixed-use commercial development near Dulles International Airport.

The stadium project is on track for spring completion. Any major delays caused by weather or other factors, however, would require a temporary alternative venue.

As for the soccer team’s progress, “A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes,” Simpson said, citing community outreach through sponsorship of a recent soccer festival in nearby Leesburg that attracted 5,000 players in four-vs.-four games. Former MLS players John Harkes, Eddie Pope and Mike Ammann, all local residents, made guest appearances.

It’s slow and steady now but, Simpson said, “It will come to a point soon where we start sprinting.”

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff · July 15, 2013