The Seattle Sounders S2 team, which currently plays at Tukwila’s Starfire Sports, is looking to move to Tacoma in the next few years.
Seattle Sounders FC and the Tacoma Rainiers have reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build a 5,000-seat, soccer-specific stadium on the footprint of Cheney Stadium in central Tacoma, according to a media release from the Sounders.
The proposed site is set to be the future home of Sounders FC’s rebranded United Soccer League franchise, which would be co-managed by the Rainiers and Sounders FC, with the former managing business operations and the latter controlling the soccer and sporting infrastructure.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be moving forward with the Tacoma Rainiers and city of Tacoma, progressing toward construction of a soccer-specific stadium,” Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer said in the release. “Our vision of having players begin their time with the club playing at Starfire with the Academy, then move up to the USL team with matches in Tacoma, before finally getting the call-up to the First Team at CenturyLink Field – all while playing within the Puget Sound region – really reinforces our commitment to bringing quality soccer to the communities of Western Washington.”
Sounders FC’s soccer operations are set to remain at Starfire Sports. The First Team, S2 and Sounders FC Academy will all continue to train at Starfire. The stadium at Starfire seats 3,200.
“Partnering with the Rainiers to provide a first-class matchday atmosphere for our USL team is going to be very beneficial in developing our players,” Garth Lagerwey, Sounders FC general manager and president of soccer, said in the release. “For the Rainiers to be able to utilize their business expertise in the Tacoma region and for us to retain technical control of the soccer side is an ideal fit for what we want to do with our USL team.”
In moving to Tacoma, Sounders FC embraces an opportunity to establish a strong foothold in a market rich with soccer history. Current Sounders FC coach Brian Schmetzer and club legend Alan Hinton were involved with the Tacoma Stars in the 1980s, an organization that the Rainiers recently operated at the ShoWare Center in Kent.