View Full Version : Pro Soccer considering Edmond

02-05-2008, 07:55 AM
United Soccer League giving consideration to Edmond

By Matt Caban
Staff Writer

EDMOND — The United Soccer League is considering Edmond as an expansion site for its First Division, said Edmond Mayor Dan O'Neil. The USL recently sent a letter to O'Neil, saying it is interested in placing an expansion franchise in Edmond for the 2009 season. Matt Weibe, the league's managing director of development and communications, said in the letter, "We are interested to begin exploring opportunities to expand United Soccer Leagues (USL) into the City of Edmond. I welcome you to encourage ... potential investment groups to bring USL to Edmond in 2009.”

O'Neil said the city has always been interested in a professional sports team, particularly soccer. "Now we have to see if there is viable interest from private investors,” O'Neil said. "If there is genuine interest, then we need to get others involved.” O'Neil said "others” includes potential owners and the University of Central Oklahoma. O'Neil said he gave the letter to Steve Commons, Edmond's assistant city manager for administration. Commons said he will find out if there is interest within the community. "We're going to make people (aware) that this letter is out there and ... is an entertainment opportunity for our area,” Commons said Monday.

A USL team would likely play at refurbished Wantland Stadium on the UCO campus. The university would still like to host a pro soccer team, said Steve Kreidler, UCO's executive vice president for administration. "If there's a form of pro soccer and ownership, the university is interested,” Kreidler said. "It's still possible. The stadium is available.”

The USL became interested in Edmond after the city and UCO were unsuccessful in their bid to land a Major League Soccer franchise in 2004, Weibe said. He said the USL focuses on affordable family entertainment. "Our business model is very different from MLS,” Weibe said. "It does well in markets like Oklahoma City. We want our league to start filling up in the middle part of the country, including the Southwest and Midwest.”

Weibe said there will be 11 teams in USL's First Division this season, with clubs in Atlanta, Miami, Portland, Rochester, N.Y., and Seattle. The USL recently announced an expansion team in Austin, Texas. The Aztex will join the league in 2009. Weibe said the league is in active negotiations with groups in Omaha, Phoenix and San Antonio. A team in Edmond would make a natural rivalry with Austin, said Phil Rawlins, Aztex owner and president. Rawlins also is an owner and director of Stoke City, a team in England's second division.

"We'd have an Oklahoma-Texas rivalry, which is always a great thing,” Rawlins said.

02-05-2008, 08:55 AM
I'd support this!

02-05-2008, 08:49 PM
Sounds awesome, although I wish we could have pulled of MLS in the first place. Oh well.

02-05-2008, 10:27 PM
Hold out for MLS!

02-09-2008, 12:43 AM
Sorry, but could this seriously be supported? I can't see it drawing large crowds...

02-09-2008, 01:09 AM
Sure it can be a couple hundreds fans, maybe a thousand. Unfortunately it doesn't have the draw in this state as American football or basketball...let alone baseball.

02-09-2008, 03:40 AM
Sorry, but could this seriously be supported? I can't see it drawing large crowds...

Professional soccer would draw HUGE crowds. Real true-blue outdoor soccer. Think - probably every other family in Edmond has one, two, three kids playing --- soccer! The Edmond Soccer Club ( is the largest youth sports organization in Oklahoma. Because of this early introduction to soccer (some so young you need a telescope to watch the game) it has an incredible hold on boys AND girls. Their parents are rabid and the chance to support pro soccer would be big. Obviously, MLS would be the first choice, but the USL is doing some good things.

Have you ever seen Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX ( It is the premier facility of its kind in the United States - and home to the MLS soccer club, FC Dallas ( standing for "Football Club" or "Frisco CollinCounty" depending on who you ask). It is one of the only soccer-specific stadiums around. Quite a showplace. (pics below.) They picked Frisco in Collin County because it's the same class of people you find in Edmond and Far North Oklahoma City. A lot of people don't realize that the northern suburbs of Dallas have a population (excluding Dallas County completely) of 1.3 Million. The OKC metro was estimated at 1.1 Million by the Census Bureau in 2006. It would take a Metro effort to support professional soccer. But basing it in Edmond just makes sense.

Anybody who underestimates the draw for pro soccer in this day and age with the number of kids 4-18 playing the game is missing out on a phenomenon.

I say jump on the United Soccer Leagues ( Edmond would most certainly play in their Premier Development League and not in Division 1 or 2. But there are some good competitive cities in the PDL of the USL.

02-09-2008, 11:29 AM
When I was working at Channel 22 in Edmond, I covered this beat. Back in '01 or '02 (I forget exactly when all this went down), there were some really great plans to go ahead and build the south side of the football stadium to match the north side -- upper deck and all. They were going to expand the stadium to a capacity of about 24,000. I recall that we had an exhibition game around this time and managed to cram about 18,000 people into a 10,000 seat stadium -- many of those people were sitting on the grassy hills which surround much of the field.

02-09-2008, 12:07 PM
I would love to see pro soccer. I get tired of the local sports radio station bashing soccer. I saw the UEFA game in norman a few years back. I think it would be great idea. Hopefully, it wont come down to a vote for a new stadium, bc we know it wouldnt pass lol

02-09-2008, 12:17 PM
Imagine a parking lot full of soccer moms and their minivans. An insurance adjusters nightmare, but a body shop's dream.

02-09-2008, 12:49 PM
some soccer moms are HOT haha. I'd like to imagine america as an honest to goodness soccer country. Basically, would do some damage in the world cup.

02-09-2008, 01:00 PM
Yeah sorry, even if soccer goes over well in other parts of the country, I just don't see it here...the people that like soccer are small and ride in the back seat...and don't have money.

I'm not saying there are no soccer fans here, but with it being shoot...4th? 5th? on the list of sports people around here would pay to watch, how much money will it make?

02-09-2008, 03:24 PM
Ah why you got to poo poo it? You know hockey wasn't that big of an idea in oklahoma a while back and now look.

02-09-2008, 05:32 PM
Back when I was covering this, MLS' studies really supported Edmond as being one of their top expansion sites.

02-09-2008, 09:32 PM
Edmond would be the perfect place for this. As others have said....plenty of soccer moms.

02-11-2008, 09:20 AM
I'm not saying there are no soccer fans here, but with it being shoot...4th? 5th? on the list of sports people around here would pay to watch, how much money will it make?

But we don't have but a couple of those sports, so their options are limited.

Seems like it would work to me.

02-11-2008, 10:11 AM
Sorry, but could this seriously be supported? I can't see it drawing large crowds...

I could see it drawing several thousand. Maybe more if it were MLS. We were under serious consideration for an MLS team a few years ago. Don't be surprised to see Edmond or OKC with a pro-soccer team within the next 5-10 years. You'd be surprised how many people are interested. Not to mention, Oklahoma has about 400K Hispanics in the state and that number is rapidly growing. Soccer aka Futbol is the number one sport of the world, only us American's like American Football more, although I'd rather watch "soccer".

02-11-2008, 10:17 AM
Ah why you got to poo poo it? You know hockey wasn't that big of an idea in oklahoma a while back and now look.

I bet these games would draw more on average than the Yard Dawgz or Blazers.

02-12-2008, 09:02 AM
Soccer aka Futbol is the number one sport of the world, only us American's like American Football more, although I'd rather watch "soccer".

I know that its the number one sport, I've lived in areas where it was all there was, but I also know that football, basketball, and baseball are king around here. I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.

02-12-2008, 09:09 AM
The only reason Edmond didn't get the team in the last expansion was because Express Sports was the only entity willing to talk about ownership. No one else would come to the table. It was essentially ours. The administration at UCO was talking about "when" the stadium improvements would come, not "if."

Only because of a lack of interested owners did the deal fall through. Is there any evidence to suggest that there are now more people interested in being owners?

02-12-2008, 09:27 AM
Again, as others have pointed out, you'd be surprised the turnout despite those other sports having a larger draw. What do the Redhawks draw on average? 7,400.

Ballpark Digest -- July 2007 Attendance by Average -- Affiliated (

And the Yard Dawgz (other competition) draws an average crowd of 7,200.

OKC arena football beats the heat: High scoring lures 7,228 per game | Journal Record, The (Oklahoma City) | Find Articles at (

That doesn't seem like a lot more than what soccer would probably draw. Look at the past several exhibition games in Oklahoma. Both in Moore and in Edmond (and this was several years ago, the game and our city have both grown since then).

7400 in Moore back in 2006.

6738 in Edmond (on a cold, rainy day) back in '04 and the MLS exhibition game in '03 drew almost 10,000.

4/10/04: Black, Red, Yellow [Mobile] - BigSoccer (

Here's a good quote at the possibility of MLS in Edmond:

Also, the league is looking at Oklahoma still - Edmond is still pushing for the stadium modifications that owould make them a hot prospect for 2006. It is not clear whether that would pretty much guarantee expansion in 2006, but it sure can't hurt.

MLS Expansion Resource (

If you read this link it shows 9,200 for the exhibition in Edmond and 14,000 for an exhibition in Tulsa. So to think OKC couldn't have a good turnout for a soccer franchise can't be backed by sufficient evidence, when all tests have shown equal or better average attendance than pro-baseball and pro-football in our town (the ones that would be competitors).

02-12-2008, 09:32 AM
Hmmm.. thought it was 18K in Edmond.

I must have not have my facts straight.

I must be garbage. :(

Lord Helmet
03-05-2008, 10:28 AM
I'd love to see this. We had our chance with MLS when it was inexpensive to get a team. Things are different with that league now, and I'm not sure that Edmond could get it done. USL is a different matter. I think it would do really well in Edmond.

I'll be in line for season tickets for sure :)

04-16-2009, 02:59 PM
Has anybody heard anymore about this, I thought I read somewhere that it was going to happen in 2009.

07-08-2009, 02:16 PM
Very exciting. Edmond and Oklahoma in general produce great soccer players (ESC always sends teams to youth nationals). I could see this being successful, especially considering the many soccer fans at UCO.