It’s official: a Las Vegas USL team will debut in 2018, as team owner Brett Lashbrook bring an expansion franchise to the downtown baseball stadium, Cashman Field.
The team was announced at a ceremony Friday afternoon attended by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilman Ricki Barlow. Lashbrook is a familiar face in the soccer-business world, serving as COO of Orlando City when that team made the transition from USL to MLS. In addition, he also previously served as legal counsel and special assistant to the commissioner’s office at MLS for seven seasons.
“Las Vegas brings a significant level of excitement to the rapidly growing professional soccer landscape in the United States,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis in a press statement. “The USL is leading this growth in the sport’s popularity and demand by identifying and securing thriving new markets, such as Las Vegas, which continues to drive the league toward its goal of becoming one of the top Division II leagues in the world, alongside the likes of the English Championship, Liga Adalante in Spain, and Germany’s 2. Bundesliga.
“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. 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. Those three qualities create a successful expansion market for the league as it continues to grow. We are excited for the plans Brett and his team have in store for the community, and for Las Vegas soccer fans who will finally have a club of their own.”
“This is the perfect sport at the perfect time for downtown Las Vegas. Soccer wonderfully represents the diversity of our community and Cashman Field provides the ideal home for us. Together with our fans we will create an authentic soccer experience similar to that seen around the globe – singing, dancing, chanting, drumming, flag waiving – you name it. Simply put, we are bringing the world’s most popular sport to the center of the world’s greatest city – and we couldn’t be more excited to bring professional soccer to Las Vegas,” said Brett Lashbrook, founder of Las Vegas Soccer, in a press statement. “We also want to thank Mayor Goodman, Councilman Barlow and the entire City staff – their support and vision made today’s announcement possible.”
The new franchise is also hosting a name-the-team contest. The six contenders: Las Vegas FC, Las Vegas Lights, Las Vegas Action, Viva Vegas, Club Vegas and Las Vegas Silver. Fans can visit VegasProSoccer.com from now through Monday, Aug. 28 at 11:59 p.m. PT to register their preferences.
With the announcement, it would appear the 2018 USL slate of teams is complete, as the circuit already announced the addition of Nashville SC and Fresno FC for the 2018 season. In addition, the league unveiled a new Birmingham team for 2018 as well as a return to Austin, Texas for that season.
Image courtesy Las Vegas Soccer.