Hammers’ time: Birmingham team going pro

Hammers’ time: Birmingham team going pro
The Birmingham Hammers took on the VHSC '97 Steamers Black earlier this year. (Len Louis/contributed)

Above: The Birmingham Hammers took on the VHSC ’97 Steamers Black earlier this year. (Len Louis/contributed)

 

The Birmingham Hammers soccer team announced Thursday the team has been accepted as the newest member of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). League play for the Hammers begins in May 2016.

The Birmingham Hammers will join a professional soccer league in May 2016. (Len Louis/contributed)
The Birmingham Hammers will join a professional soccer league in May 2016. (Len Louis/contributed)

This is the latest step in the 2½-year effort of Hammers organizers to bring professional soccer to Birmingham. Morgan Copes, the president and general manager of the club, said organizers have had a schedule in their mind for accomplishing their goal.

“We are ahead of it,” he said. “We’ve got to prepare for next summer. We’re very excited going forward but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

The Hammers played an inaugural exhibition season in 2015 at Vestavia Hills’ Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex. That will be the team’s home field next year.

NPSL, formed 13 years ago as the Men’s Premier Soccer League, is the fourth tier of professional men’s soccer in the U.S. The top tier is Major League Soccer, followed by North American Soccer League and United Soccer League.

“Most of the guys who play for us are still in college and are not able to be paid because of their amateur status and NCAA regulations,” Copes said.

The Hammers will compete in the league’s Southeast Conference against clubs in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville and New Orleans. According to the Hammers’ website, season tickets for the 2016 season will be available soon.

Related Stories