MOVE over David Beckham – Oxford City could become one of the top names in American soccer.
Just days after the superstar former England captain unveiled plans to set up a new Major League Soccer (MLS) team in Miami, City president Thomas Guerriero revealed he aims to form his own franchise playing under the same name as the Skrill North league side.
He said: “In the future I can definitely see the Oxford City brand expanding to the United States.”
Mr Guerriero added the move would not be in the short-term and would rely on the establishment of his Oxford City University campus in Florida.
“The university will have the facilities that can support a professional team,” he said.
Mr Guerriero claims that his plans are “a couple of years ahead of schedule” with the launch of the company’s new broadcasting network which he says will move on to include a TV station by 2015.
“We want to raise awareness of what we are doing both in England and the United States.”
Mr Guerriero refers to his plans for parent company Oxford City Football Club Inc as a “vertical integration model” based along the lines of United States conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway headed up by renowned business magnate Warren Buffett.
That company has a range of interests in famous names including Heinz, Mars, Coca-Cola and American Express.
Mr Guerriero said: “We look at specific sectors that can build a solid foundation.
“Most football clubs are not fiscally successful because they are just football clubs. We want people to look at us as a financial powerhouse holding company. Football is just one aspect of what is successful.”
As for the university, Mr Guerriero said a site had been secured in Florida for it to be built.
Once up and running, he wants it to produce both “talented athletes” and the “brightest minds in business.”
“The university will be fuelling the talent of tomorrow on the pitch and in the boardroom. We want to build on that year after year,” he said.
Mr Guerriero took over Oxford City last April. Set up in 1882, the club has had a rollercoaster history in the lower leagues but has been successful in recent seasons, securing promotion to the Conference North in 2012.
By August Mr Guerriero had changed the name of his financial business, WMX Group Holdings to Oxford City Football Club Inc and floated it on the stock exchange.
David Beckham announces his plan to form a soccer team in Miami
He then went on take over the Oxford Hoops basketball club in October and last month it was announced that the Oxford City Broadcasting Network had been set up with the first programme being The Oxford City Financial Report presented by Mick Da Mixter Bazsuly.
Asked whether he bought the club just to trade on the name, Mr Guerriero said: “I have no time to care about what people think of me.
“I am passionate about doing this – I don’t feel there is anyone we are competing against.”
Despite Mr Guerriero’s previously reported hopes of promotion into the top divisions of the football league, Oxford City FC are currently in the relegation zone of the Skrill North league.
Despite this, the club president has declared himself happy with progress on the pitch.
He said: “A lot of the players were already established and obviously we want to do much better but it is not a concern and we think we will finish the year further up with the way we have restructured and re-defined how we work together. Every single person is on the same page.
“We are confident about the coaching. It is the style of football (managing director) Colin Taylor and I want to see.”
Mr Guerriero continues to visit Oxford and he and his family spent Christmas with Mr Taylor and his family, taking in a couple of matches during his visit.
“I feel at home in Oxford and I can see myself spending more and more time here,” he said.
Who is Thomas Guerriero?
- Born Brooklyn, New York.
- Played in goal for Staten island Vipers before it was disbanded in 1998, the year he began his financial career on Wall Street.
- Became senior vice president of the securities division of First Union, one of the largest institutions in the world with more than $400bn (£243m) in client assets.
- Held chief executive positions at corporations including Global Wealth before setting up investment advisory firm WMX Holdings which has now been re-named Oxford City Football Club Inc.
- Claims to have starred in the Oliver Stone film Any Given Sunday and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He has also written books on investing and the stock market.
- In 2011 he became an owner of the Springfield Armor professional basketball team which plays in the NBA D league.
- Studied at Harvard University’s graduate school and has two BA degrees from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Thomas Edison State University.
- Aged 37, he is married with three children.
Oxford City timeline
April 2013: Thomas Guerriero is unveiled as the new president and owner of Oxford City.
August 2013: WMX Group Holdings changes its name to Oxford City Inc, with interests including Oxford City University to be established in Florida.
October 2013: Acquires Oxford Hoops Basketball Club and renames it Oxford City Basketball.
October 2013: Appoints Craig Tornberg as general manager. Tornberg spent 17 years at Major League Soccer (MLS) club New England Revolution.
January 2014: Thomas Guerriero signs a deal with Media Power Beasley Broadcasting to set up the OCBN broadcasting network. The first programme, The Oxford City Financial Report, was broadcast on February 3.
Quotes of note
- August 2013: “I commit 20 hours a day, six days a week to Oxford City, so it’s now my entire business focus.”
- July 2013: “I am 100 per cent focused on Oxford City business now and probably for the next 30 years.”
- May 2013: “I feel this could be a major legacy. People will look back on this and see one of the biggest impact stories of all time in English football.”
- April 2013: “I value every dollar, every pound, and look to make the most of every opportunity.”
- April 2013: “That is the starting point. We will go up, increasing supporters and attendance revenue. This is the foundation.”
- April 2013: “I am one of the most competitive people you will ever meet. If you are not going to win the league, then you should not be competing.”