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London City Now for Sale


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So for those of you that wanted the young Gauss' out of the picture here is your chance to buy the team. They are asking for $100 000

Subject: London City for sale

Gauss family passing ball

London City, North America's oldest professional soccer club in active competition, has struggled to be competitive but that's not the reason for the team sale


Ryan Gauss accepted the leadership role with London City after his father Harry fell ill with a brain tumour, but with the caretaker role looking permanent, he wants out of what "can be a dirty business." (Derek Ruttan, Sun Media)

He went from the little kid who cleaned under the Cove Road field stands after games to the young man in charge of his family's sporting legacy.

But yesterday, Ryan Gauss did something he never fathomed while growing up as a part of the London City soccer club.

He hung a "For Sale" sign on the franchise.

"I had a lot of sleepness nights and wavered back and forth on whether to sell and talked to our family about it at length," the Canadian Soccer League team's young leader said. "But the timing is right. All those people in London who said they knew how to run a soccer franchise, now's their chance.

"We're taking offers for City. It was a tough decision but life is full of difficult decisions."

City was created by Gauss's grandfather Markus on Valentine's Day 1973. It remains North America's oldest professional soccer club in active competition.

Shortly after its founding, Ryan's father Harry took over. He quickly became City's heart and soul and steered it through various versions of what is now known as the CSL.

Three years ago, Harry fell ill with a brain tumour and son Ryan was handed the reins. He viewed himself as the caretaker until his father was strong enough to return. But Harry has been in considerably declining health.

"I was just going to warm his seat for him," said Ryan, 23. "We've talked together about selling over the past few years. This isn't my career path. There are a lot of things I'd like to do. I'm interested in running for city politics. I have my (university) degree but to become a professor, it'll take more schooling and time.


"I was recently married and my wife Haley, she deserves the world and not to be dragged down into this business and soccer can be a dirty business."

Gauss said recent on-field results didn't factor in the decision. The club was winless in 2008 and had one win this season.

"I would've come to the same conclusion had we won the CSL championship this year," he said.

"Certainly, it causes stress when you don't win, but long ago City became the team that attracted top young talent and developed them to go on to bigger and better things in pro soccer and we've done that while sacrificing wins along the way," Ryan Guass said.

FC London, which qualified for the USL Premier Development League playoffs in its first season this summer, roared out to a popular start. Gauss also clashed with a few Western Ontario Soccer League premier teams over release of their players.

"Some teams like London Croatia were great about it and letting their players play for us if they didn't have a conflicting game," he said. "But others weren't as good."

The CSL is going through a reorganization at the board level. Cary Kaplan has resigned as league commissioner after nearly five years at the helm.

It's also reported that Hamilton is close to securing a new franchise. The price tag for an expansion team is $100,000.

"City is the oldest team in the league and it comes with a recognizable name -- I'm not just going to give it away," Gauss said. "I'm going to entertain offers until the end of November. We've had people interested in buying before, but until I see a certified cheque from a reputable bank I'm not going to get excited.

"I'm fully prepared to move forward and run the team again next year if need be."

Gauss has told the players there will be a team on the field next year. Player-coach Andrew Loague has agreed to come back.

The City franchise includes a dozen youth squads and the first rights to a team in a CSL women's division.

There is no outstanding lease at the German-Canadian Club.

"They've been great to us, "but that's not saying a new owner couldn't pick up and play their games somewhere else like Western."


- Franchise founded on Valentine's Day 1973 by Markus Gauss. His son Harry takes over shortly after.

- For much of the 1970s, City was competitive in the upper tier of the National Soccer League's first division

- Canadian Soccer League folded in 1997 and several teams, including City, joined the Canadian Professional Soccer League

- City last qualified for league playoffs in 2000.

- Won 2003 Open Canada Cup and $10,000 grand prize. Cup runnersup two years later.

- In 2007, Ryan Gauss takes over club for ailing father Harry, who is battling a brain tumour.

- Broke two-year winless drought on Aug. 14, 2009 with a 6-3 home victory over Toronto FC Academy.

- Yesterday, Ryan Gauss announces his family is putting the team up for sale.

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Interesting news if Hamilton is about to buy a new franchise.

Maybe the Hamilton owners should try to buy London City (at a discount) and relocate the team. The other teams would probably prefer to travel to Hamilton rather than London.

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If FC London are going to turn out to be a viable ongoing business (and it's looking good so far) there is no obvious role for the CSL in London even under new ownership if/when that franchise becomes firmly entrenched. Worth bearing in mind that crowds of the order of 1500 were showing up for PDL games in London this summer while the CSL struggled to attract 340 for it's marque end of season match up between the Serbs and the Croats in Toronto a few days ago so although it may be difficult for people with a Toronto-centric perspective to grasp, PDL would be difficult to displace as top dog in London without considerable investment by new ownership. I think the main question that was not addressed by the article, which may be of considerable importance, is whether the London City's share of the ownership of CSL Inc. is up for grabs.

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I am unaware of the situation of the ownership model of the CSL> Can you pinpoint exactly how it works please? I have heard various theories of 4 owners own the thing, to everyone shares in the ownership etc etc. I'm interested to learn how it operates

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My understanding based on various small snippets of info over the years is along the lines of the 4 original owners scenario, which would probably be the Astros, City, Roma and Croatia given the other four originals (i.e. Olympians, Eagles, Shooters and Glen Shields) have fallen by the wayside one way or another. Got a feeling it might actually only be three though (think Croatia have had to be reinstated a couple of times in the offseason for bureacratic reasons) and that has meant that City and the Astros can control a lot of what happens between them. There are at least two people who post on the Voyageurs forum who have been insiders in this league who would know a lot more than I do about this, however, so I'm very much in the inquiring minds want to know category on this as well.

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Ryan was not interested in the team the last few seasons, not the horrible product on and off the field. The estimated value of a Canadian Soccer League franchise is extremely out of wack. I realize the league is trying to make itself somewhat exclusive and seem far superior than other leagues in Ontario but the fact that there are players sitting out their CSL game to play in an Ontario Cup game ends that argument pretty quickly. The CSL wants two hundred and fifty thousand for an expansion…We all no how many problems are in the league right now, attendance seems to have plummeted lately as well. Ryan wants a hundred thousand for LONDON CITY! What are you buying?? A team that has no stadium, no players on any sort of long term contact (which might be a good thing with the low level amateurs on the side now), no extras(website, not even a semi-qualified coach..ect.ect.ect) Note the name is a dandy.

From what I understand the league is owned by all team owners. There is a certain year (not sure the exact I think its two) waiting period before a new owner is granted shares in the league however.

The potential the Canadian Soccer League has is huge, some educated sports business executives is all that’s needed…to bad no one that meets that criteria is going to work for peanuts.

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Guest HamiltonSteelers

Hmm... talk about kicking a team when it's down. Not that they don't deserve it.

Aside from the shenanigans that have plagued the farcical history of the C(P)SL, London's potential demise would certainly be a loss. That being said, what value the 'name' has is largely debatable. $100,000 for burnt bridges doesn't seem like a reasonable deal.

So, hypothetically speaking, what would the whole of the CSL be worth then? $2 million? Surely London ****ty's 'bargain basement' deal can't be the sticker price for the rest of the league's established, more successful sides. Like... um... :)

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