If Martin Sanchez has his way, Birmingham could
have its first professional soccer team in 2009.
Sanchez is the owner of the Alabama Spirit, a
team mostly comprised of former area soccer
players, who he hopes can move into an
established soccer league next year.
and organizers were carefully watching the fan
turnout for an exhibition game against reserves
from Mexico's CF Monterrey Rayados at UAB's West
Campus Field. Monterrey won the contest 3-2. The
most important numbers were the amount of people
in the stands.
"Being a Monday and having this many people
coming out, that really gives me a good taste
that the people love the sport. It looks like
there's a need for (these) kind of matches in
this city," said Sanchez.
Organizer Scott Spencer said he has long
wanted to develop a minor league soccer presence
in Birmingham. He would like the Alabama Spirit
to be a forerunner to a minor league team that
will play here next summer, either in the
Premier Developmental League or the National
Premier Soccer League.
Sanchez, the owner and president of
International Pallet Company, is more ambitious
and hopes to have a team in the higher-caliber
United Soccer League where he already owns the