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US youth international's club expelled from Spanish league

Shaquell Moore's club Huracán Valencia haven't paid their players in months and are on the verge of financial collapse.

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Promising young American defender Shaquell Moore is unfortunately learning the grim financial realities of lower-level soccer abroad.

Moore made the move from Atlanta to Spain at age 17, he thought he was living out a dream. First, he would move to Europe, then become a star, and finally play for the U.S. Men's National Team. Two years later after signing a professional contract with Huracán Valencia CF, Moore and the rest of his teammates have gone without receiving a paycheck since July despite continuing to play matches and train with the club.

On Dec. 30 the Spanish Football Federation expelled Huracán Valencia CF from the Segunda División B, the third tier of Spanish soccer. It was the fourth time this season Huracán failed to pay match referees leading to an automatic expulsion. The club has 10 days to appeal the ruling. Huracán had already been deducted 2 points in the league standings for the same offense.

According to a report from Spanish newspaper MARCA, Huracán Valencia CF hadn't paid their players for a number of months. The club's current financial situation is not a surprise looking at their short, turbulent history. Huracán's journey to the third tier of Spanish soccer was different from most clubs. The club was founded in June of 2011 and instead of starting near the bottom of the nine tiers of Spanish leagues, they immediately bought out a licence from Torrellano Illice CF in Spain's fourth division.

One month later, Segunda División B demoted two clubs to the fourth division for financial reasons and promoted Huracán Valencia to the third division, right before the season began play. So in the span of three months, the club formed, bought out a fourth division club, got promoted to the third division before even forming a team, and played there just two leagues below Liga BBVA where the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid play.

"Right now we are in a difficult situation," Moore said to MARCA.

"We've have a few months without wages, which is not good, but the locker room is positive. What we can control is our work in the field and try to get results. It's a great group."

As of now, there has been no meeting between club officials and the players to discuss their compensation or lack there of. Moore is keeping his options open to joining other clubs if the players are not eventually paid or the club dissolves.

During a match earlier this month, the players came onto the field with a banner demanding the resignation of the club director and stood still for the opening 30 seconds of play in protest of the economic crisis at the club. Also at the match, the coaching staff had to collect money from the ticket sales to pay arbitration.

"At this moment I am a Hurricane player. I'll keep working hard in training and in matches, but it would be foolish not to have a second option," Moore added.

"It's hard to be an American playing in Europe, and this mess more complicates things. It is not what I expected, and it is a shame that happens at a big club like Huracán. This has exposed me to what can happen in the business of football, and that will help me in the future."

In a tweet, Moore showed the players having to pay the referees themselves after a game.

It is unclear what are the next steps for the club, leaving Moore among many other players in limbo. Moore has 49 total appearances for the U.S. Youth National Team at the U-17, U-18, and U-20 level including appearances at the 2015 U-20 World Cup this past summer.