Major League Soccer franchise the Seattle Sounders and Class AAA baseball team the Tacoma Rainiers have reached an agreement for the Sounders’ United Soccer League affiliate to begin playing games at Cheney Stadium.
Cheney Stadium (pictured) is the Rainiers’ home ground and has a capacity of 6,500. The Sounders’ USL affiliate, Sounders 2, will play its home games at the stadium from next year.
Earlier this year, the Sounders and the Rainiers agreed a deal to build a new 5,000-seat stadium to host Sounders 2 games. The venue, which it is hoped will be ready by the 2020 season, will be built on city-owned land adjacent to Cheney Stadium.
The latest development will allow Sounders 2 to play USL games in Tacoma several seasons ahead of schedule.
Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer said: “Our organisation was already thrilled to be moving ahead with the Rainiers and the City of Tacoma on the new stadium project, but when we learned of the opportunity to begin playing USL games as soon as 2018 in a facility like Cheney Stadium, we embraced the chance.
“From Rainiers leadership to the many civic officials in Tacoma that are working hard to deliver professional soccer to their city, we’re humbled to have such willing partners in this effort. As soon as next season, fans can enjoy a first-class experience at Cheney, allowing the club to make a tangible connection to the City of Tacoma earlier than expected.”
Rainiers president Aaron Artman added: “We are so proud to bring another professional sports franchise to Tacoma. To partner with the top soccer organisation in the country, the Sounders, adds a layer of passion and prestige to the project, fuelled by a vibrant South Sound base of supporters. We are excited to deliver a fantastic USL experience with S2 at Cheney in 2018 and 2019, while keeping our focus on delivering a world class soccer specific stadium by 2020.”
The Rainiers will operate the business side of Sounders 2, with the Sounders to oversee football operations and sporting infrastructure. The Sounders also confirmed that its USL affiliate would be rebranded to reflect its new home.
Sounders 2 had hitherto played its home games at the StarFire Sports Complex in Tukwila.