OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Professional soccer is coming to Omaha.
On Wednesday morning the Alliance Omaha Soccer Holdings group announced it will be owning a team in the United Soccer League's (USL) League One. The league is in the third tier of professional soccer in the U.S. and is below USL Championship and the MLS. The team is the first professional soccer franchise in the state of Nebraska.
"The Omaha and Sarpy soccer community has been yearning for a team to call their own but more importantly it deserves a team to call their own and today they get their team," said Gary Green, the team's owner and Owner of the Omaha Storm Chasers.
"Omaha is ready for this," said Dan Houghton, an investor in the club. "Omaha needs this. It's time. Today is the day. It's time to have professional soccer in Omaha, Nebraska."
The USL League One is in its inaugural season. The league currently has ten clubs in cities such as Madison, Chattanooga and Tuscon.
"USL franchises have not only transformed sports in these cities but have brought and energy and passion to communities never seen before," Green said. "Like these other USL cities we intend for the Omaha metro to experience this seismic shift."
Run by the same ownership group as the Omaha Storm Chasers, the team will also use Werner Park for home games.
"Baseball is America's game, soccer is the world's game so why not tap in to something that's the worlds game and reach a fan base that we haven't tapped in to," Green said. "The millennials, the Latinos. We have the ability to reach all of Omaha instead of part of Omaha."
Baseball in a soccer stadium may seem weird but it's not. Seven of the 16 teams in the Pacific Coast League, the league the Storm Chasers play in, already do so but the Storm Chasers are the first in USL League One.
"It's not the Oakland Coliseum, it's not the old Qualcomm when you saw the Padres and Chargers flip back and forth and they did nothing to the dirt," said Martie Cordaro, the Storm Chasers president and general manager. No the baseball skin will be covered."
The team is planning to kick off play in 2020. As of now there's still no team name, no logo, no schedule and no uniform. However, the team has a coach. Former UNO head coach Jay Mims will be the club's first head coach.