Less than two weeks after it was announced that the Wichita Wings would likely not return to the Major Indoor Soccer League for the 2013-14 season, a local business group has reached an agreement to keep indoor soccer in Wichita in a new league.
Blake Shumaker, who owns Service Body Shop and is the managing partner for FC Wichita, LLC, said a Wichita team will play in the Premier Arena Soccer League starting this fall, pending a deal with one of three local arenas.
Shumaker said his group prefers Park City’s Hartman Arena, where the Wings played the last two seasons, but that Intrust Bank Arena and the Kansas Star Casino arena in Mulvane are also in play.
Shumaker's group negotiated with the MISL before opting for the deal with the PASL, which includes original Wings rivals Dallas Sidekicks and San Diego Sockers.
Late last month, former Wings owner Wink Hartman and his associates announced they would no longer seek new ownership of the Wings after putting the team up for sale in March. Technically, an MISL franchise could still operate in Wichita if the league finds new owners, but that is unlikely.
The Wings probably will cease operations after two unsuccessful seasons. The franchise was resurrected in 2011 after the original version played from 1979-2001.
Shumaker was reached by phone Monday afternoon but said he preferred not to speak from the press release he sent Sunday evening since negotiations with arena representatives are ongoing.
"We have support from many successful Wichita-based companies and have secured a home office in the Old Town business district," Shumaker said in the release. "We hope to have everything wrapped up in the coming week."
The team's name is yet to be determined and the MISL owns the rights to the Wings name for one more year. The indoor team and a team in the outdoor Premier Development League that could begin play by summer 2014 or 2015 would initially operate under the name FC Wichita until a nickname was secured.
"The last month of constant communication with FC Wichita, LLC has given me a great feel for this ownership group," PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken said in the release. "I couldn't be happier with their soccer knowledge and passion for the game in Wichita."