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Wilt Steps Down

Peter Wilt, the former Chicago Fire executive, has stepped down as CEO of Milwaukee Pro Soccer LLC, the group attempting to bring an MLS expansion club to Wisconsin. Wilt will continue to oversee the start-up of the Chicago franchise in the new women's league starting in 2009.

"Despite having a broad base of support, 8,000 season ticket equivalents and what I feel is the best pro team/amateur youth sports association partnership in history, we haven't been able to secure the necessary governmental support or the development rights for appropriate land in the desired time frame," Wilt said in a written statement. "There may come a day in the future when those factors change and I'd love to be part of it again. There is no doubt in my mind that Wisconsin would be a successful Major League Soccer market and that Milwaukee and its citizens would benefit from a team and stadium as part of a major mixed-use development."

By Steve Goff  |  November 12, 2007; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: USSF to Name New Women's Coach: Sundhage


I love Peter Wilt, but once he started talking about the viability of building a portable/modular stadium inside a raceway, Milwaukee had jumped the shark.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | November 12, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

If the Galaxy had a collective brain in their heads, they'd snap up Wilt in a heartbeat and show that clown Lalas the door.

Posted by: Chico | November 12, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Chico, not sure if Wilt would be welcome at the Galaxy. Wasn't it AEG that axed him when he was with Chicago?

Posted by: DirtyHarry | November 12, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Concur, Chico. Now that lalasgals have new ownership perhaps the AEG "blackball" doesn't come into play? The fans would love it, but I doubt Mr. Wilt has the deboner (sic) attitude that is seemingly required of one to pass through the front door of the Jewel of MLS.

Posted by: GrillMaster | November 12, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Gotcha Tommy, Section 8 in Chicago owes a huge debt of gratitude to Wilt. He's one of those FO guys that "gets it"

Posted by: Chico | November 12, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

no way wilt will get to LA. aeg/tim lieweke run the galaxy and need a figurehead as GM... peter wilt is too much of an actual GM to work out in LA.

Posted by: dashiel | November 12, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Could this be a prelude to joining one of the other MLS bids like St. Louis or Philadelphia?

I don't think either group could do better than to have Peter Wilt involving in starting up their organization.

Posted by: Nick from BigSoccer | November 12, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Wilt go to KC or New England.

Wilt has an amazing ability to get people out to the game and turn them into fans. He does a great job of working with management and the community to build up strong support and a great product offering. I don't think anyone in Chicago or Milwaukee would dispute that.

He built a huge base in Milwaukee without a stadium or even a team but he just lacked any kind of public financial support thanks again to MLB.

MLB used the Milwaukee Journal (just like they used the Post) to promise the world to residents in exchange for a blank check and the city caved. Just a couple of years after the city built the new stadium (way over budget to meet the contractual obligations), Bud Selig's daughter (then owner of the Brewers) sold it at a huge profit since they now had an amazing lease which significantly increased the value of a crap franchise (at the time).

But the city quickly realized (just like DC will) that none of the promises were true and the contract had more holes in it then Swiss Cheese that allowed Selig to take even more money for the city despite selling the team at a huge profit.

So now the idea of a sports stadium with any public funding is complete taboo in Milwaukee politics, and Wilt really didn't stand a chance of getting a new stadium without the help of a prominent local investor.

Posted by: Southeasterner | November 12, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I know this is just an echo, but someone in MLS needs to get Wilt ASAP. In fact, I'd say the majority of MLS teams should be lining up for his services. MLS is at its healthiest right now, but there's no way the league can let a guy like Wilt go.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | November 12, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

If they really had 8000 some season ticket holders interested than that really sucks.

Posted by: Chris | November 12, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate for Milwaukee, but proven by today's announcement in Seattle, there are many US (and Canadian) communities that are getting behind MLS and stepping up to support franchises. Milwaukee had 3+ years to get its act together, so good for Peter for knowing when to get off a dead horse.

Posted by: Mr. Fish | November 12, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

While Southeasterner takes a very cynical look at what was a very contentious battle to get Miller park funding off the ground (which ended up involving 5 different counties having a sales tax) the crux of his point is true. Getting more funding for anything sports related isn't happening.

Also the bigger factor involved here is that there was no primary owner or ownership group to push the MLS as an actual entity in Milwaukee. Without that they were always dead in the water around here.

It sucks but really I don't think anyone truly expected this to be successful. This really just solidified the area as Fire fans who catch a few games a year instead of every home game.

Posted by: Gregg | November 12, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Milwaukee was a viable expansion option 2-3 years ago much like Rochester. But with the momentum that MLS has gained in the past season, the barriers to entry have gotten a lot higher. MLS can now be picky, and places like Milwaukee and Rochester aren't big enough markets and don't have deep-pocketed investors to interest MLS. Look at St. Louis... There is some question about whether they will be team #16 even though they have a beautiful stadium project lined up, because it seems like MLS would prefer waiting to see what happens in Philly first.

Posted by: footix | November 12, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

NY or Columbus would be smart to pick him up but neither team is that smart.

Posted by: owendylan | November 12, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Look at St. Louis... There is some question about whether they will be team #16 even though they have a beautiful stadium project lined up, because it seems like MLS would prefer waiting to see what happens in Philly first.

Posted by: footix | November 12, 2007 02:59 PM

I will repeat what I said in an earlier thread: The league may have an incentive to name another expansion team for '09, if only to avoid the schedule problems associated with an odd number of teams. If St. Louis is ready to go and Philly isn't, that may make a difference.

Posted by: 22201 | November 12, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I love all of the expansion talk as it gets us closer to a single table in the MLS. Just be sure to fill the seats if you continue to grow. Please try to follow the Toronto FC model - SS stadium in place and a large number of season tickets sold.

Oh yeah I almost forgot, more DP's for each team. If you get talented footballers in you will fill the stadiums, even the NFL ones.

As far as Peter Wilt, he is one of the best things that has happened to soccer in the US. Since AEG doesn't own Chicago anymore can someone please setup a meeting between Hauptman(Andell Holdings) & Wilt?

Guppy did finally make a couple of good moves (Blanco, Osorio) but I would love to have Peter back as GM/President of my beloved FIRE.

Posted by: Gilly73 | November 12, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Colorado would be the perfect destination for Wilt. Great new stadium! And a supporter base that really needs some coaching and support. Which is really what he does best.

He would probably be an improvement over the current GM in terms of player and coaching decisions as well.

Posted by: PJohnson | November 12, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey PJohnson, I was going to say the same thing for Real Salt Lake!! :-) He is exactly what they need!

Posted by: Timoteo | November 12, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

guys, Wilt is part of the ladies league. He is heading up the Chicago team. I don't see how any move other than him taking the reigns of the Fire and Fire Deluxe Ladie's Edition is possible.

Come on home, Peter! Get rid of Guppy and bring on Peter!

I am sad Milwaukee didn't pan out because as a Chicagoan it's always nice to get a chance to harass our neighbors to the north. :) I'm sure they echo that sentiment as well. ;)

Posted by: papa bear | November 12, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Eh, the new women's league (if it ever actually gets off the ground) will likely only last another 3-5 years anyway.

Posted by: AlecW81 | November 12, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

12 hours gone and no new Goffinho post? He better be working on something good... ;-)

Posted by: Juan-John | November 12, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John: Indeed he has; go to the next thread. Also, Georgetown got its NCAA bid; I posted that to the previous thread.

Posted by: 22201 | November 12, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey Papa Bear. You may be right. And If he does run both clubs in Chicago I suggest he sign Abby Wambach. She would make the perfect target forward for Blanco.

As for the RSL idea, he's way to liberal to survive Utah.

Posted by: PJohnson | November 12, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Robert Redford seems to have survived several decades in Utah. On a more serious note, has that ever really been a problem with anyone associated with RSL in any capacity? Heck, they even tolerated Clint Mathis, at least up to a point.

Posted by: 22201 | November 13, 2007 12:45 AM | Report abuse

HA!!! You GO, girlz!!!!

Hoya SAXA baby!!! :-)

Off to the next post...

Posted by: Juan-John | November 13, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse

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