We’ve covered this on our soccer site, but now that it’s official it’s time to note the development here: the Reno Aces (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) will be adding a United Soccer League (USL) team to the Aces Ballpark mix in 2017.
Professional soccer is basically made up of four levels: MLS, NASL, USL and USL PDL. MLS, USL and PDL are a continuum on the size scale: many USL teams are affiliates of MLS teams (or, in the case of New York Red Bulls II and LA Galaxy II, directly owned by MLS teams). There is some interplay between pro soccer and pro baseball. The New York Yankees are an owner of MLS’s New York City FC, with that team playing out of Yankee Stadium. The NASL’s Jacksonville Armada play at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, home of the Jacksonville Suns (Class AA; Southern League). USL teams play in Minor League Baseball ballparks in Louisville and Tulsa, while the Prospect League’s Kokomo Jackrabbits owner, MKE Sports & Entertainment, will be adding a PDL team to Kokomo Municipal Stadium in 2016.
In Reno, the USL team will be owned by Herb Simon, managing partner for Aces baseball, and run by Ace team president Eric Edelstein, who has pro soccer in his background from his days with Rich Baseball and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Class AA; Texas League).
“Aces Ballpark was always envisioned as a venue to bring the community together,” Edelstein said. “Bringing USL professional soccer to Reno is the next step in bringing world-class sports and entertainment to Reno.”
Edelstein will occupy the same role for the USL Club as he does for the Reno Aces Baseball Club. Chris Gelfuso will serve as Chief Financial Officer, and Andrew Daugherty is the Executive Vice President.
A team name for Reno’s USL franchise will be decided by the fans in a “Name the Team” contest at uslreno2017.com to submit a team name and have a chance to win season tickets. The team logo, colors, and coaching staff will be announced at a later date.
“The USL is thrilled to welcome Reno, Nevada as its 28th franchise,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “The vibrant city of Reno, combined with the outstanding ownership of Herb Simon, will assuredly create a most professional soccer organization. One of the world’s largest and most successful commercial mall developers, as well as the owner of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and Minor League Baseball’s Reno Aces, Mr. Simon will bring his vast business experience and passion for sports to the USL. We look forward to working with him and his president, Eric Edelstein, to bring exciting professional soccer to Reno.”