After reaching out to players and the front office personnel, we're getting more details about the situation at Pensacola City FC after owner Bill Fetke decided to fold the franchise yesterday- blaming his relationship with the city and bringing forward issues with player behavior.
Fitke responded to follow-up questions from OSG Sports early Friday morning:
All the teams in the conference and the commissioner have been in contact with me. As far as the players go, it is not a good situation, being terminated/let go is a part of business. I do feel for them, and actually, I had lots of tears while I addressed them today. If they were not playing for me this summer, most would have found a way home. Some are truly stuck, and I feel bad for them. I remember them playing hung over or not putting forth an effort in training or matches or not willing to go to practice, then I have to say to myself, they didn't care about me and the investment I made on them. At the end of the day, this is a business, and when employees do not do their job, they get fired. Businesses close everyday, people lose their job everyday. This is not what I envisioned when I started this, but what entrepreneur plans on going out of business. But the players were a small piece of the problem, the city of Pensacola and lack of support from the community these last couple years were a bigger part of the problem.
For the record, I had nothing to do with the players getting kicked out of the apartments. I have no control over where they lived. They stayed with local players. So local players are the ones who kicked out their teammates.
Responding to our desire for player comment was defender Joe-Tyla Butcher:
When I arrived the training field didn't even have goals, and was in shocking condition. A joke compared to last years facilities, what makes me laugh is that I was told it was urgent to come down here and even skipped walking at my graduation so that I could be here in time for the first game. yet I arrive and the training field doesn't even have goals, I should have known from there it was going to be a joke. Secondly I had been messaged by a few of the players saying that the coach was unorthodox and not very good, but whatever I gave it the benefit of the doubt, I got here and in all fairness Gary Hindley is a very nice guy, but in soccer terms he was totally out of his depth in my opinion, we did the same drills every day, possession then a scrimmage, I did more advanced sessions when I was ten years old, he played players out of position, seemed to have no tactical knowledge of the game at all, a huge contrast to last years coach Neto(Knoxville force coach) who is probably the best footballing coach I have met out here. A lot of the players quickly became unmotivated and actually considered quitting but we all stuck around as we had made a commitment to bill, coach gary and the team.
Anyways yesterday we get a text, no training. team meeting at the stadium at one, bring all your equipment, and that is when we were told the team would be folding, apparently the players didn't care enough and went out every night before games (false information) I know for a fact none of the boys went out before the Knoxville or Chattanooga games, perhaps the reason for players being tired is they were asked to play two 90 minute games within 24 hours of each other, putting almost an identical line up to the first game out (tactical knowledge hint hint) and I forgot to mention that the second game was scheduled at 1pm in 95 degree heat against the best team in the league, some good management right there. Then to top it all off the assistant coach Don Maples (just as hopeless) goes on his personal facebook after shaking all our hands and sympathizing with us at the meeting saying that it was the players fault the team broke down, two faced… perhaps he should stick to coaching u15 girls in Tennessee.
But the part that is most a joke is that all these players were brought down here, id say at least 80% of the players are international, the messed up thing is all of our food and bills were being paid for, so nobody has worked in preparation for this summer, everyone is working on limited funds. And we the team gets folded ay 28th, rent for next month is due June 1st with none of us having worked or any way to pay for it, effectively not only leaving the players without a team for the summer, but potentially with out housing or money to buy foods. Now everyone is frantically contacting their parents and other teams trying to sort something out for themselves, some of the American boys have already left. The thing that gets to me the most is that one of our players got hurt in a reserve game, went away in an ambulance, he was scheduled to have an MRI the day the team gets folded, and guess what still no MRI, the owner says that he will pay for his MRI but has told him, I don't care if you don't have the money or a place to stay its not his problem anymore. Bearing in mind this lad is an international, hasn't worked or saved up money and was fully expecting to be supported by the club for this whole summer, I think its extremely f**ked up to be honest. Now he will in a few days not have a place to stay, is also injured and on crutches, possibly out for his college season as well, the least they could do is support the agreement they made all of us which was to house and give meals to the players until the end of the season July 4th.
Adding to that is the comments goalkeeper Steven Hermosa who sent word to the Gulf Coast Armada supporter's group...
From the Armada Twitter:
Also, Bill's comment about players not wanting to "waste gas" in order to train in perdido was questionable. I have no record of anyone saying that but most of the players rely on just a few cars for transportation. Bill changed the scheduled training times the day of- so those with cars had made plans according to the original schedule and couldn't just switch around to switch bill's schedule because he was unprepared.
OSG Sports is still waiting for any kind of public comment from NPSL Commissioner Michael Hitchcock as this continues to play out in the soccer media.