United Soccer League (USL) announced its latest expansion club with Loudoun United, headquartered in Loudoun County, Virginia. D.C. United’s new USL affiliate team become the seventh and final new club set to join the league for the 2019 season and join the Richmond Kickers as the only professional soccer teams based in Virginia. The announcement was made on July 18 at Vanish Farmwoods Brewery and was attended by elected officials from across the county and state, as well as business and community leaders.
The new facility in Loudoun County will give D.C. United and Loudoun United a premiere venue to train while also providing the community with an avenue to enhance youth soccer development. The announcement also represents another major step in D.C. United’s unprecedented growth after opening their new state-of-the-art and soccer-specific stadium at Audi Field on July 14.
“We are thrilled to be launching a professional soccer team in Loudoun County, Virginia that will debut in the United Soccer League in 2019,” Dave Kasper, United General Manager and VP of Soccer Operations, said. “This is another important step for soccer in the DMV as we now have a complete pathway in player development for area youth soccer players directly to the professional levels. We will provide a fun and exciting fan experience in a beautiful setting in Loudoun County as we entertain our fans with talented rising stars in the game.”
Loudoun United will be United’s new subsidiary and will boast a brand new 5,000 capacity stadium that is planned to be built adjacent to Philip A. Bolen and Loudoun Soccer Parks.
“Loudoun County is one of the most impressive counties in the country – between the robust community and youth soccer presence, the creation of a professional soccer team is the perfect way to activate the two,” Adam Behnke, Loudoun United Chief Operation Officer. “With a team to call our own, a local professional sports entertainment option and youth soccer players having role models in their backyard to follow to one day play at the professional level, we can truly create something special in our community.”
The USL is one of the most successful professional soccer leagues in North America, with nearly 40 teams set to take to the field in 2019 across the United States and Canada, reaching a population of more than 84 million people. The league has grown attendance at an average annual rate of 36 percent since its launch in 2011, and its matches are available nationwide on the innovative ESPN+ platform, with select matches broadcast across linear ESPN channels.
“We are thrilled to welcome Loudoun United to the USL family, along with the D.C. United organization,” Alec Papadakis, USL CEO said. “This storied organization has strong ownership and we welcome their contributions to our league. Having another competitive team in the Eastern Conference strengthens our presence in the region and Loudoun County is a thriving community, with a growing soccer fan base and all the elements in place for long-term success. We look forward to Loudoun United kicking off alongside the six additional newcomers next season: New Mexico, Austin, El Paso, Memphis, Birmingham and Hartford.”
“The youth, collegiate and professional soccer matches that will be played at Bolen Park will bring thousands of players, families and fans to Loudoun, one of the most dynamic counties in America,” Phyllis Randall, Chair of Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. “This will provide new opportunities for our businesses and residents and facilitate healthy activities, and new stadium will be utilized by the community for many purposes.”
Speakers at the event included Jason Levien, United Managing General Partner and CEO, Justin Papadakis, USL Chief Operating Officer, Adam Behnke, Loudoun United Chief Operating Officer and officials from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
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United worked closely with Loudoun County officials to negotiate the terms of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The county will provide land for the facilities and approximately $15 million in financing for construction of the fields, training facility and an approximately 5,000-seat stadium.