MLS or USL? Decision on professional soccer is up to the Spokane Public Facilities District

<p><p>A professional soccer team is expected to play in Spokane sometime in 2023, but from which league?</p></p><p><p>A decision is expected Tuesday during a meeting of the board of directors of the Spokane Public Facilities District.</p></p><p><p> A special committee heard two presentations Monday, one from the United Soccer League and the other from Brett Sports, which hopes to field a Major League Soccer franchise farm team.</p></p><p><p>The presentations were held behind closed doors, and no details have emerged. Tuesday’s meeting, however, will be open to the public. It begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Board Room, but proceedings will be available via Zoom. Anyone wishing to speak will be given up to three minutes.</p></p><p><p>According to an email from the facilities district, “the committee will review and present to the entire board with a vote expected.”</p></p><p><p>The prospect of professional soccer in Spokane was boosted by Spokane Public School’s approval last spring of a $31 million, 5,000-seat downtown stadium.</p></p><p><p>Though owned by the school district, the stadium will be managed by the facilities district, which also runs the nearby Arena and the new Podium.</p></p><p><p>The downtown site had been supported since the spring of 2020 by the United Soccer League, which promised to bring a second-tier League One team to Spokane.</p></p><p><p>By summer, the USL had appointed Cindy Wendle as president of the transition team and began laying the groundwork for fielding men’s and women’s teams.</p></p><p><p>“I am confident that USL is the best soccer league that is committed to this town and is what this town needs right now,” Wendle said.</p></p><p><p>However, MLS announced last summer the formation of a second-tier league known as MLS Next Pro, intended to bridge MLS Next, the league’s youth development platform launched in 2020, to the major professional teams, such as the Seattle Sounders or the Portland Timbers.</p></p><p><p>Early in November, Brett Sports announced its interest in placing an MLS Next Pro farm club in Spokane.</p></p><p><p>“We are very excited about the possibility of partnering with the MLS and the (facilities district),” Dave Pier, chief marketing director for Brett Sports, said at the time.</p></p>