Friday, January 31, 2014

Jacksonville Armada

The team started playing in the NASL in 2015. The name Armada was chosen over the TeaMen by the team to represent the Spanish influence in Florida. In 2015, the team was in over their head. They weren’t very competitive. They started building their youth club from combining local clubs, so that would start to pay off down the line. Still, the support was there, 8,000 people were showing up to Everbank Field. With support from AO Jacksonville and the First Coast Elite supporters, and momentum from hosting US National games, the club was able to sign a deal for a new stadium near the AA Baseball stadium, and Jaguar’s field. The plans came with new bars and restaurants near the stadium complex. This new increased attention in Duval County. To make sure to get fans before the new stadium, they went out and signed a Spanish midfielder. A former Real Madrid youth product, he was looking to get out of the lower domestic leagues. “The Conquistador” led the team to an over .500 record. The team was still getting its footing in the league. A bitter rivalry between Tampa was formed, even though Tampa was winning championships in the early seasons of the Armada. Duval County Grounds opened in 2018, a 15k seat stadium with a berm seating on the side opposite of the supporters group. The club went out and signed an MLS player from Jacksonville to finish out his career in defense. A player from the Brisbane Roar was signed to play in Jacksonville. That next year, they announced the first Sunshine Shield competition. A round robin tournament between Florida’s 4 big soccer teams. The rivalry doesn’t have the legacy of rivalries like the Cascadia Cup, but the teams are all even in skill. The team was still without a great manager, this was apparent after a series of poor starting line ups resulting in 5 straight goals against before the 15th minute. They picked up an assistant coach from Everton looking for a manager job. Jacksonville still wasn’t producing, and in 2021, they hired a former US national player to coach the team. The first signs of a youth system showed up in 2021 with a striker from the academy earning a starting spot a few games in. A player was stolen from the Rowdies in the off season to help out on the midfield wings. Another place the Armada looked for players was the USL. Chattanooga had a defender that was picked up while he was looking to improve his league. The team had a 10 game streak without a loss to get them into a playoff position. They held on and clinched a playoff spot with a win at Puerto Rico. They didn’t last too long, and were eliminated by the Cosmos. The Armada have the most success in US Open competitions and Sunshine Shield. A win over Atlanta in the first round of the US Open was a huge upset in front of the Jacksonville crowd. The team also boasted the 2024 and 2027 Sunshine Shield trophy. The management needs to be willing to spend some cash to buy players to promote to the Championship. The owner are one of the cheaper ones in the league, but with the new system about to be in place, a few years building up internally might be what the Armada needs. I wanted Redskins colors in my league, and just happened to choose these guys. The name was leaked on the Domestic Soccer thread. The logo is shaped like the placeholder logo they use now, and instead of the statue of Andrew Jackson, I took the conquistador helmet from a concept done by (i think) Jaha. Some Conquistador logo I found on google. The uniform is a sash, just something I wanted to do differently. The Florida teams are REALLY colorful. Maroon/Green/Purple/Pink!

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