August 14 – Probably the worst kept secret of the USL, the second-tier of professional leagues in the US, has become official. Las Vegas will have a team playing in the 2018 competition.
The addition of the Las Vegas team will be the third and final extension of the league for the 2018 season – the league will have expanded to 33 teams with Nashville SC and Fresno FC also joining for the 2018 season.
The new franchise will play at Cashman Field, in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas. The franchise is owned by Las Vegas resident Brett Lashbrook (pictured) who was chief operating officer at Major League Soccer’s expansion team in Orlando, Florida. He was previously legal counsel and special assistant to the MLS Commissioner’s office for seven seasons.
“Las Vegas is a first-class sports city with a progressive sports-minded mayor and leadership, and an outstanding venue in Cashman Field that will create an exciting home for this club,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. Papadakis. “Furthermore, Brett Lashbrook brings significant soccer experience and is well-respected in the soccer industry, immediately adding to the already strong group of owners in the USL family.”
No name has been given to the new franchise though Lashbrook revealed that fans can vote for their favourite name out of six potential names still in the running – Las Vegas FC, Las Vegas Lights, Las Vegas Action, Viva Vegas, Club Vegas and Las Vegas Silver – at vegasprosoccer.com from August 28.
The move into Las Vegas is a smart one for the USL as the city, although an entertainment hub in the US, has not held major professional sports franchises. That is set to change with the Vegas Golden Knights set to open their inaugural NHL season this October at the T-Mobile Center, and the arrival of the NFL’s Raiders set for 2020.
The USL franchise under Lashbrook will be able to ride that new wave of sports focus in the city. Las Vegas will be the second USL franchise in Nevada after Reno 1868 FC who were formed in 2015 and debuted in the USL this season.
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