USL AWARDS 31ST FRANCHISE TO SPURS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Darren Powell Appointed Head Coach of the USL San Antonio Franchise
SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 7, 2016) – The United Soccer League announced today that they have awarded the 31st USL franchise to Spurs Sports & Entertainment, officially welcoming San Antonio to the league. Additionally, SS&E has named Darren Powell head coach for the team that is set to begin play at Toyota Field in March 2016.
“We are thrilled to be part of a terrific league that features an exciting brand of soccer that will elevate the sport in San Antonio,” said Rick Pych, Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations. “The USL is a perfect fit for a region whose passion for soccer continues to grow and we’re excited to have Darren Powell on board as our head coach to lead that development. Darren shares our organization’s values and vision to advance soccer in San Antonio and his extensive background in coaching and cultivating talent will be an invaluable asset for a first-year franchise.”
Powell, a native of England, comes to San Antonio from Orlando City SC of Major League Soccer where he oversaw the Club’s Pro Academy and U.S. Soccer Development Academy programs. In his two seasons with the Development Academy in Orlando, Powell showcased his prowess for helping develop young talent and was a key part in creating success for the program. The club qualified for the 2015 U-16 and U-18 U.S. Soccer playoffs and was also recognized as the Most Improved Academy in the East by U.S. Soccer. Additionally, the U-16 team received Best Style of Play honors in 2015.
“I am excited to take the next step in my career by being a part of Spurs Sports & Entertainment,” said Darren Powell, USL San Antonio franchise head coach. “This is a fantastic opportunity with a first class organization in a community with a vibrant soccer culture that is ready to take soccer to the next level. I’m committed to helping build a successful team on and off the field and can’t wait to get started.”
Prior to joining Orlando City, Powell was the head men’s soccer coach at Elon University for nearly a decade. During his tenure with the Phoenix, Powell became the school’s all-time winningest coach, posting a 94-68-23 record over his nine seasons and was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year on four occasions.
The USL is a vital part of the growth of soccer in North America, on and off the field. With 24 clubs in the 2015 season, the USL looks to expand strategically with strong ownership groups that share the league’s passion and vision, in markets that are positioned for long-term success. The USL has previously announced the addition of clubs in the Rio Grande Valley, Cincinnati, Lehigh Valley, Orlando and Kansas City for the 2016 season, and Reno for the 2017 season. The addition of a San Antonio franchise to a region that includes teams in Oklahoma City, Rio Grande Valley and Tulsa provides a great opportunity to develop exciting rivalries.
“It is with great excitement that the USL welcomes Spurs Sports & Entertainment, one of the most admired organizations in the sports industry to our league,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “The USL is confident the experience this prestigious organization brings, in addition to a state-of-the-art soccer specific stadium and a passionate fan base, this new club will make a major statement both on and off the field in our league.”
Last month, SS&E announced that it reached an agreement with Bexar County and the City of San Antonio to operate a USL soccer franchise at Toyota Field starting in 2016. The deal is part of a collaborative effort by the city, county and SS&E to pursue bringing Major League Soccer (MLS) to the Alamo City. Five of the last seven new MLS franchises played in the USL. The soccer-specific stadium opened in April of 2013 and has a capacity of 8,500.
Fans can learn more about the franchise at USLSanAntonio.com and can follow the team on Twitter at @USLSanAntonio and on Facebook by liking USL San Antonio. Fans interested in being a part of the inaugural season can place their $50 deposit for 2016 season tickets online at USLSanAntonio.com or by calling 210-444-5MLS.
More club details, including team name, club crest and jersey design, will be announced in the near future.
SPURS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT REACHES AGREEMENT WITH BEXAR COUNTY AND CITY OF SAN ANTONIO TO PLAY SOCCER AT TOYOTA FIELD IN 2016
Collaborative Community Effort in Place to Pursue Bringing a Major League Soccer Team to San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 22, 2015) – Spurs Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) today announced they have reached an agreement with Bexar County and the City of San Antonio to operate a soccer franchise at Toyota Field in 2016. The deal is part of a collaborative effort by the city, county and SS&E to pursue bringing Major League Soccer (MLS) to the Alamo City. The announcement was made at a press conference held at Toyota Field this morning.
Toyota Field, a soccer-specific stadium in Northeast San Antonio, was purchased by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County for $18 million. As part of the agreement, SS&E has donated $3 million to Morgan’s Wonderland, a special needs theme park established by Gordon Hartman. SS&E agreed to a 20-year lease to run all operations within Toyota Field, while also pursuing an MLS franchise. The stadium opened in April of 2013 and has a capacity of 8,500.
Spurs Sports & Entertainment plans to operate a USL franchise in 2016. The USL is the largest professional soccer league in North America and features strong leadership and established ownership groups. The competitive league is comprised of successful independent teams as well as MLS-owned and operated franchises. Five of the last seven new MLS franchises played in the USL.
A team website has been established at USLSanAntonio.com, and fans can follow the newest professional franchise in the Alamo City on Twitter at @USLSanAntonio and on Facebook by liking USL San Antonio. Fans interested in being a part of the inaugural season can place their $50 deposit for 2016 season tickets online at USLSanAntonio.com or by calling 210-444-5MLS.
“This deal wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support from both the City of San Antonio and Bexar County,” said Rick Pych, Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations. “We are very excited to continue the growth of soccer in San Antonio, and we plan to operate a USL franchise as part of a proven path to Major League Soccer. We look forward to bringing the highest level of soccer to San Antonio.”
“The City and County’s purchase of Toyota Field is the first step toward bringing a Major League Soccer team to San Antonio,” said Mayor Ivy R. Taylor. “Spurs Sports & Entertainment is recognized as one of the best professional sports businesses and we are fortunate to have them as a partner in this effort. Today’s announcement marks significant progress toward achieving our shared goal.”
“We have taken a major and historic step toward acquiring an MLS franchise that will put Bexar County on the world stage,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. “Through this unique partnership with the City of San Antonio, we are proving we are ready to support a professional team representing the most popular sport in the world.”
“We applaud the cooperation and community-minded approach that led to this agreement,” said Gordon Hartman, owner of the San Antonio Scorpions and CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation. “We believe Soccer for a Cause, our effort to bring exciting professional soccer to San Antonio and to benefit non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland and the special-needs community, has clearly achieved its goals.”
SS&E will also operate the South Texas Area Regional (STAR) Soccer Complex, which is located adjacent to Toyota Field. STAR Soccer Complex includes 13 fields that provide resources for many local youth soccer organizations and adult recreational leagues.
The team name for the new USL San Antonio franchise along with a club crest and jersey design, will be announced in the near future.
The USL is a vital piece of the growth and development of soccer in North America, on and off the field. With 24 clubs in the 2015 season, the USL looks to expand strategically with strong ownership groups that share the league’s passion and vision, in markets that are positioned for long-term success. The USL has previously announced the addition of clubs in the Rio Grande Valley, Cincinnati, Lehigh Valley, Orlando and Kansas City for the 2016 season, and Reno for the 2017 season. Formed in 2011, the league was known as USL PRO prior to being rebranded “the United Soccer League (USL)” before the 2015 season.
About Spurs Sports & Entertainment
Spurs Sports & Entertainment is the premier provider of sports and entertainment in South Texas. SS&E owns and operates the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), San Antonio Stars (WNBA), Austin Spurs (NBA Development League) and also manages the day-to-day operations of the AT&T Center.