Indy Owner Praises Coach

The Philadelphia Independence soccer team owner expressed such confidence in his coach Wednesday that he said he doesn't worry about on-field decisions that affect the team.

David Halstead said that head coach Paul Riley has made such good decisions in assembling top talent over the last two years that he (Halstead) has been free to concentrate on the balance sheet.

"In Philly I don't worry about on-field stuff because with Paul we will be among the top teams," Halstead said in a media conference call-in on Wednesday afternoon. "We have to worry about the business side, equally... It doesn't matter who we are playing if the business side is not well."

Balancing the books is of great importance to Halstead, who has given the team five years to "break even or become a profitable arrangement."

Although Indy has advanced to the Womens Professional Soccer championship game twice in each of the last two years, the team has lost money, which is not unusual in the early stages of a new sports venture.

Halstead would not say exactly how much money the team has lost; however, he said it is "a significant amount."

With Riley and his assistants running the team and choosing talent at reasonable prices, and attendance and sponsorship picking up, the owner is optimistic about the future of the team and the league.

Halstead had this to say about Riley, who is working on a year-to-year contract basis, to producer Jonathan Tannenwold on Sept. 1.

"In my book, there's not much that Paul Riley doesn't understand about WPS. He knows how to coach, he knows how to run a youth club, and he knows a lot about marketing a business and connecting it to a community to sell tickets."

All of that frees the owner to focus on profits, which will make the team more viable and the league stronger. - Bill Iezzi