Virginia Cavalry FC, an North American Soccer League expansion club slated to kick off in the spring, is engaged in serious talks with George Mason University about playing at least a portion of the inaugural season on the Fairfax County campus.
Cavalry has broken ground on a stadium project in Loudoun County, north of Dulles Airport, but construction delays have pushed the opening to 2015. George Mason Stadium, which offers 5,000 bleacher seats on one side of the field, is about 20 miles from the club’s new venue location. The NASL, a second-division circuit fielding 11 teams next season, would have to approve a temporary facility.
“We want to help them out as much as we can,” GMU Athletic Director Tom O’Connor said. “It’s good for everybody. It’s a good soccer location. We would like for it to happen.”
Cavalry is likely to use George Mason for five home matches during the first segment of the 2014 split season. The league schedule calls for 10 games — five home, five away — in the spring and, following a World Cup hiatus, 20 (10 and 10) between late July and November. The champion of each “half season” will meet in the final in the fall.
The club is weighing venue options for the longer stretch of the season, which would overlap with George Mason’s soccer seasons in the fall.
“We are exploring a handful of opportunities,” Cavalry spokesman David D’Onofrio said. “George Mason has an excellent facility and it’s a great location. We’ll continue to talk to them.”
No other options have been made public.
O’Connor met Monday with Mark Simpson, Cavalry’s director of soccer operations; John Harkes, the club’s prospective head coach; and vice chairman Joe Travez.
Logistical issues would need to be addressed, O’Connor said: scheduling around George Mason track and field and women’s lacrosse seasons; staging games while the adjacent field house is undergoing renovations; and construction projects on Route 123.