Pro soccer in the form of Seattle Sounders 2 (S2) will be arriving at Cheney Stadium ahead of schedule, as the USL squad will be playing matches at the home of the Tacoma Rainiers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
It had previously announced that the Rainiers and the Seattle Sounders would seek to build a new 5,000-seat soccer-specific stadium next to Cheney Stadium, ideally for the 2020 season. That effort will continue, but the timeline was accelerated to next season. MLS’s Seattle Sounders will own the team and supply players and coaches; the Rainiers will manage game-day and business operations and spearhead the new-stadium efforts. As previously announced, Sounders FC’s soccer operations are set to remain at Starfire Sports, the club’s Tukwila-based training ground. Currently USL teams play at MiLB facilities in Reno, Louisville, Tulsa and Harrisburg, while the Tampa Bay Rowdies play out of Al Lang Stadium, a former MiLB and MLB spring-training facility. In addition, a new Las Vegas USL team will be playing out of Cashman Field beginning in 2018.
“Our organization was already thrilled to be moving ahead with the Rainiers and the City of Tacoma on the new stadium project, but when we learned of the opportunity to begin playing USL games as soon as 2018 in a facility like Cheney Stadium, we embraced the chance,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer in a press statement. “From Rainiers leadership to the many civic officials in Tacoma that are working hard to deliver professional soccer to their city, we’re humbled to have such willing partners in this effort. As soon as next season, fans can enjoy a first-class experience at Cheney, allowing the club to make a tangible connection to the City of Tacoma earlier than expected.”
“We are so proud to bring another professional sports franchise to Tacoma,” Rainiers President Aaron Artman said. “To partner with the top soccer organization in the country, the Sounders, adds a layer of passion and prestige to the project, fueled by a vibrant South Sound base of supporters. We are excited to deliver a fantastic USL experience with S2 at Cheney in 2018 and 2019, while keeping our focus on delivering a world class soccer specific stadium by 2020.”
One change: the Seattle Sounders 2 name will go away at some point, replaced by something more local to Tacoma.
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