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Storm Chasers owner pursuing professional soccer in Omaha

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Posted at 11:01 AM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 12:01:50-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Omaha Storm Chasers owner Gary Green has tentatively agreed to lead a group of investors who are trying to bring a United Soccer League team to Omaha, according to the Omaha World-Herald. 

The USL is a second-tier league to the MLS that features 30 teams across the country, playing in cities similar in size to the Omaha metro such as Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Colorado Springs, Richmond and Louisville. The league also features affiliates of MLS teams, including the Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, Toronto FC and Orlando City FC. 

Right now, the bid for a team is only in its beginning stages, with the goal of getting a team to Omaha by 2019. There are eight other markets known to be in the mix for expansion in that same timeframe. 

The USL requires teams to pay an expansion fee of $5 million, have an operational budget of $2.5 million and have a soccer-only venue ready by 2020. 

Omaha has had professional soccer as recently as 2011, when the Omaha Vipers of the Major Indoor Soccer League averaged 2,700 fans at the Civic Auditorium. The USL had an average attendance of 3,439 in 2016.