MountainStar Sports Group, the organization behind the El Paso Chihuahuas (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), is involved in an effort to bring a United Soccer League team to El Paso.
The push for a club in El Paso is being led by a group that includes Paul Foster and Josh Hunt, as well as other executives from MountainStar. Under MountainStar, the Chihuahuas have established a track record of success since beginning play at downtown El Paso’s Southwest University Park in 2014.
The USL has confirmed its interest in placing a team in El Paso. In the meantime, the group is undertaking the search for a site that could be used to construct a new stadium.
In speaking of the effort, MountainStar president Alan Ledford says that the success of the Chihuahuas has not gone unnoticed by the USL. More from El Paso Inc.:
“We’ve had some very positive discussions with the folks at the USL,” he said. “They’re very interested in the market and interested in this ownership group.”
According to Ledford, USL representatives were impressed by the community’s interest in the Chihuahuas baseball team and Downtown ballpark. Another selling point, he said, is MountainStar’s minority ownership of the Bravos soccer team in Juárez.
“They were very excited to see the quality of this venue and quality of the experience here,” Ledford said.
The strengthening of relationships between USL and MiLB teams has been a trend in recent years, with many USL clubs playing at MiLB ballparks. There have also been some interesting developments of late that could combine an MiLB owner or MiLB ballpark with a USL team. As was noted here last month, Memphis Redbirds (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) may be looking at establish a USL team at AutoZone Park, while an ownership group that includes Jeff Logan, a co-owner of the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League), is planning to launch a club for the 2019 USL season.