Bellingham among list of potential cities for Sounders minor-league affiliate

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 30, 2014 

MLS Rapids Sounders Soccer

Seattle Sounders' Obafemi Martins second from left, is greeted by teammates Brad Evans, right, Clint Dempsey, second from right, and Lamar Neagle, left, after Martins scored a goal against the Colorado Rapids, Saturday, April 26, 2014, in the second half of an MLS soccer match in Seattle. The Sounders defeated the Rapids 4-1.

TED S. WARREN — AP

Bellingham was included on a list of possible sites for the Seattle Sounders to place a minor-league affiliate, according to Sounders GM and part owner Adrian Hanauer in a story on mlssoccer.com.

With the Reserve League dissolving after this season, MLS teams are required to field their own USL PRO team or partner with an existing team in 2015.

"We're somewhere between 95 and 99 percent heading toward a USL PRO team here, certainly to begin with," Hanauer told mlssoccer.com following a Tuesday, April 29, Sounders training session at Starfire Sports Complex. "We'll remain open to other opportunities. It would require finding a good partner and a good facility situation."

According to the story, the Sounders have already had talks with the Tacoma Rainiers Class AAA baseball team about a potential partnership to locate a USL PRO team in the South Sound, but Hanauer also listed Bellingham along with Everett, Spokane and even Boise, Idaho, as potential sites for a minor league team.

The team mostly likely will play at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwilla — the same site the Sounders play most of their U.S. Open Cup matches and where they're club's practice facilities are located.

"That's not much of a question for next year, but we can always move," Hanauer said.

The Los Angeles Galaxy are the only MLS team currently running their own USL PRO team, but several are expected to do so next season.

"It's been great for us to talk to the Galaxy a little bit about their experience with Galaxy II," Hanauer said, "to learn what things have gone well, what things they might do differently in the future."

According to uslsoccer.com, the USL PRO league is the longest-standing pro league affiliate member of U.S. Soccer and features 14 teams in 2014, including expansion franchises in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Sacramento, Calif. Teams have already been announced for 2015 in Colorado Springs and Tulsa, Okla. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and various domestic and international exhibitions.

The league began this season on March 22, and games are scheduled through Sept. 7.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service