A Professional Soccer Team for Baltimore?
The Washington Post is reporting that a “strong” bid for a United Soccer League (USL) franchise has been submitted by a group of Baltimore investors that have not yet been identified. From the article:
Baltimore is high on the league’s list for possible expansion. The group is apparently looking to build a stadium from scratch and, if necessary, play in an existing facility on a temporary basis.
This winter, the U.S. Soccer Federation sanctioned the USL as a second-flight league, one step below MLS. The North American Soccer League retained second-division status.
Charm City has a rich indoor soccer history — the Blast began in 1980, folded in 1992 and resurfaced the same year — but hasn’t had a high-level outdoor team since the early 1970s. The amateur Baltimore Bohemians, who joined the PDL in 2011, announced last month that they’re going on hiatus.
Perhaps hinting at USL investment, the team said in its statement that “we are taking this time off to refocus our efforts on bringing a legitimate professional franchise to this great city.”
The Baltimore Bohemians are owned by Orioles Ownership Representative Louis Angelos.
A soccer stadium was once proposed for Pigtown/Carroll-Camden for the former Crystal Palace Baltimore team. Westport was also once eyed as a potential stadium site for the DC United, a Major League Soccer team.
M&T Bank Stadium has hosted professional soccer matches in recent years and now has natural grass.
The Port of Baltimore Sets Records
The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore continues to set cargo records. From a press release from the Office of Governor Larry Hogan:
For the first time in its history, the Port surpassed 10 million total tons of general cargo handled at its public terminals and saw a record number of containers. General cargo includes automobiles, containers, roll on/roll off (farm and construction equipment), forest products (rolled paper and wood pulp), and breakbulk cargo.
- Record: 10.1 million tons (first time surpassing ten million)
- Up five percent from 2015
- Record: 538,567 containers
- Up three percent from 2015’s record of 523,848
- 519,744 tons of rolled paper
- Up 30 percent from 2015
The Port of Baltimore had very significant achievements in 2016, including:
- Welcoming its first big container ship through the new Panama Canal
- Signing its top forest-product customer, Finland-based UPM, to a 10-year contract extension
- Extending the contracts with both of its cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International
- Receiving a nearly $1 million federal grant to continue reducing air pollutants by upgrading diesel equipment at the Port
In addition in December 2016, the Port of Baltimore was named the most efficient port in the U.S. for the third consecutive time by an independent analysis conducted by the Journal of Commerce. The Port averaged 71 container moves per hour per berth, a rate faster than any other major American port.
The Ravens and Under Armour Save After-School Bus Program
The Baltimore Ravens and Under Armour donated a combined $75,000 to the Maryland Transit Administration to allow students to have free bus rides until 8pm. Another $26,000 was raised by Baltimore families. From The Baltimore Sun:
Under Armour donated $50,000 and the Ravens gave $25,000, officials said. Under Armour said it has been in discussions with city, state and community leaders since January to find a way to fill the funding gap.
Two weeks ago, members of the City Council sold brownies, Rice Krispies treats, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies at a bake sale to raise part of the money to restore the rides and call attention to the issue.
It wasn’t a problem until this school year. Previously, students could ride anywhere for free from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. using a card called the S-Pass. The school district and MTA, however, rolled out smart fare cards last year, and paid-for trips after 6 p.m. were restricted to particular school activities.
“There are students who would not be able to participate in these important activities if the free service stopped at 6 p.m,” Ravens President Dick Cass said in a statement.
The Baltimore Brigade Hosting a Tryout at Banner Field
Baltimore’s new Arena Football League team, the Baltimore Brigade, will be hosting an open tryout next week at Banner Field in Locust Point. From a team news release:
The Baltimore Brigade will hold a free agent open tryout presented by FX Studios on Feb. 26 at Banner Field as they launch their inaugural season presented by MedStar Health in 2017. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the combine will take place from 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Brigade head coach Omarr Smith, along with his staff and the FX Studios team, will evaluate and conduct the combine portion of the tryouts. A participant from the tryout will receive an official training camp invitation from the Baltimore Brigade coaching staff.
Participants will be able to pre-register online for a $75 entry fee or on the day of the combine for a $100 entry fee. All participants at this year’s tryouts will receive an official Brigade free agent combine t-shirt.
The open tryout will feature traditional combine testing drills, which include the 40-yard dash, short shuttle and broad jump. Participants will also be placed into individual position and group-specific drills. Players should wear comfortable athletic shorts or sweat pants and a t-shirt.