TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO announced today that an expansion franchise in Colorado Springs, Colorado will join the league for the 2015 season. Owned and operated by Martin Ragain and Ragain Sports, LLC, the franchise was officially unveiled at a news conference in Colorado Springs this afternoon.
The momentum continues to build for USL PRO with the addition of a franchise in Colorado Springs for 2015,” USL President Tim Holt said. “With Sacramento Republic FC and OKC Energy FC kicking off in 2014, this announcement continues to build the league’s western presence, with additional announcements expected soon.
In addition to Ragain Sports, Ragain is also an owner and founder of ME Engineers, a global mechanical and electrical engineering design firm, founded in 1981, whose portfolio includes some of the most recognized buildings in the world. Ragain is also the broadcast lighting consultant for the Olympic Broadcast Systems, currently preparing for the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Ragain is also an author in the FIFA Stadium Guidelines regarding stadium lighting.
“It has been a life-long dream to own a professional sports franchise,” Ragain said. “We look forward to building a franchise that soccer fans throughout the Colorado Springs region can be proud to support.”
Ragain Sports anticipates that the team will play its home games at Sand Creek Stadium adjacent to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox baseball facility. The team expects to announce a “Name the Team” contest in the coming weeks.
USL PRO is the strongest, best operated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below and in support of MLS, both on and off the field. Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO featured 13 teams in 2013 with more than half boasting a decade or more of operational experience, and the distinction of being the longest standing pro league affiliate member of the US Soccer Federation with more than two decades of successful operations.
The addition of Colorado Springs continues USL PRO’s western expansion initiative, with expansion sides Sacramento Republic FC and OKC Energy FC slated to join for 2014. In addition to league play, USL PRO teams will continue to compete in the national Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and various domestic and international exhibitions.
In 2013 USL PRO began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that has further elevated the quality and stature of USL PRO, strengthened the competition in both leagues, and established a solid foundation for future collaboration. MLS teams will choose to either field a reserve team in USL PRO or affiliate with an existing USL PRO franchise by 2015.
Colorado Springs has a rich soccer history that has produced powerful youth clubs, numerous high school state soccer champions, strong college programs, a number of professional players, and was home to the U.S. Soccer Federation for many years.