What You Need To Know About Louisville’s New Professional Soccer Club

Louisville will be home to a pro soccer team.

But before Louisville City FC takes to Slugger Field (its home turf) when the season begins in spring 2015, you may want to know a few things.

About 200 people showed up Wednesday to Slugger Field for the announcement, including Mayor Greg Fischer and the president of the team’s league, USL PRO. A group of Louisville residents known as the Louisville Coopers were also scattered throughout the crowd.

The Coopers—named in honor of the people who make bourbon barrels—are a fan group that has boosted the idea of pro soccer to Louisville.

Coopers member Chris Heading said they’re “stoked.”

“It is just a stepping stone for soccer in Louisville,” Heading said. “It is going to be absolutely incredible.”

Here are other things you may need to know to be a fan of the Louisville City Football Club.

Who Will The Team Play?

Louisville City FC will be a member of the USL PRO division, which is an affiliate of Major League Soccer comparable to AA minor league baseball. This season, USL PRO has 14 teams—but 17 teams will play next season.  Here’s where current teams are:

The USL PRO season runs from March to September and includes about 28 matches, about half of which are at home.

Who’ll Play for Louisville City FC?

Orlando City Soccer Club is the franchise moving to Louisville—Orlando is getting an Major League Soccer team next season.

This season, Orlando City SC is in first place in the USL PRO division. 

The Orlando team has won the USL PRO championship twice since 2011. But the team coming to Louisville won’t have Orlando City’s exact roster. Team officials said some players are looking to be promoted to the MLS.

Fun Fact: Orlando City SC plays its home matches at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which is part of Disney World.

Who’s the Coach?

This will be James O’Connor’s first head coaching job.  The Irishman play more than 500 professional matches in England before signing to play with the Orlando City Soccer Club in 2012.  He has the highest coaching license in the world, a UEFA Pro license, according to the franchise.

O’Connor said he is excited about bringing an exciting, successful soccer team to Louisville.

“Rest assured our fans will get that,” he said.  “I am very keen to be successful here.”

He also spent some time playing with the Stoke City Football Club in England. During his time there, O’Connor became something of a hero, according to a Stoke City team blog and the Stoke Sentinel.

Tickets for Next Season

Season ticket packages for the Louisville City FC are available now. Prices range from $240 to $420.  To reserve a season ticket, go here.  General admission is expected to cost $10 to $25.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed city budget for the 2015 fiscal year includes $581,000 for the development of facilities at Slugger Field to accommodate the Louisville City FC. The required work includes field maintenance and locker rooms. An additional $2 million has been contributed by private donors, Fischer said.

About That Logo

The logo released this week has been heavily scrutinized on social media.  The Louisville Coopers even reached out to fans on their website asking what needed to be changed.  So team officials have decided to change it.  An open contest will be held to find the new design. 

Wayne Estopinal, a minority owner of Louisville City FC, said more details about the logo design contest will be announced in the coming weeks.

Some people have already taken to Twitter with suggestions. You can find them here.

A side note: the St. Louis expansion team set to enter the USL PRO division next year will sport a fleur de lis on the team’s crest.

Jacob Ryan

Jacob Ryan is the Urban Affairs reporter for WFPL.

@jacobhryan

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