Madrid - Spanish top-flight side Rayo Vallecano have
launched an American franchise, Rayo Oklahoma City, who will play in the North
American Soccer League, in the first such move by a club from La Liga into the
Rayo, from the Madrid neighbourhood of Vallecas, confirmed
the franchise will compete in the NASL, the second tier in the United States
behind Major League Soccer, from 2016.
The Spanish outfit did not specify how much they have
invested in the project but the website of the new team, Rayo OKC, confirmed
that Rayo Vallecano president and owner Raul Martin Presa will be the
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"The name, Rayo OKC, directly reflects its unique
partnership with Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, which becomes the first ever La Liga
side to invest in a pro soccer club in North America," read the Rayo OKC
"It's an honor for our brand to be alongside many of
North America's most cosmopolitan cities," said Martin Presa. "We
look forward to putting a world-class team on the pitch in Oklahoma City."
Rayo OKC, whose crest and red and white colours are a nod to
their Spanish namesake, will play at a new 6,500-seat stadium on the campus of
Yukon High School which was built at a cost of $17 million. Its capacity can be
increased to 11,000 for matches.
Rayo Vallecano are in their fifth consecutive season in La
Liga but are a modest club with a turbulent history of financial difficulties
whose revenue in 2014-15 was 29 million euros ($31m), a fraction of their far
more illustrious cross-town rivals Real Madrid.
Launched in 2011, the NASL is currently an 11-team league
which features the likes of the New York Cosmos of former Real Madrid and Spain
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