Tacoma will soon be getting a new professional soccer team, as Reign FC has officially announced their plan on Jan. 30 to relocate to Tacoma’s own Cheney Stadium starting this upcoming season. The team previously spent five of its now six years of existence playing in Seattle’s Memorial Stadium, but when it no longer met National Women’s Soccer League field of play requirements and refused to make the upgrades needed, Reign FC had no other choice but to find a new home.
Reign FC was one of the eight inaugural members of the NWSL in 2012. Overall, the team has seen success over past seasons, making three playoff appearances including two seasons as the runner-up.
Cheney Stadium has now become the destination for two professional soccer teams relocating their operations. The Tacoma Defiance — formerly known as Seattle Sounders FC 2 — made the move from Seattle to Tacoma in 2018. The two teams join long time Cheney Stadium resident Tacoma Rainiers — Tacoma’s minor league baseball team.. The stadium can quickly and easily be converted from a baseball to a soccer field, although the ownership hopes a new soccer facility can be built in the area surrounding Cheney.
“Efforts are already underway to build a soccer-specific stadium in Tacoma,” said Reign FC owner Bill Predmore. “Should all go according to plan, Reign FC will train and play its matches in a new, state-of-the-art facility beginning with the 2021 season.”
Ownership went through a list of possible stadiums the team could play its home matches at, ultimately deciding on Cheney as their best option. Some of the factors noted by Predmore leading to the decision were concessions upgrades, as well as better seating for fans. Memorial Stadium was an aging facility, once thought to be a key factor for the attendance decline during the 2018 season. Fan experience also plays a vital role in the success of any sports franchise, and Predmore made it well known that this is one of his top priorities while searching for a new home.
“We spent a lot of time inside Cheney Stadium to imagine the matchday experience we could provide,” Predmore said. “We can say with certainty that the experience our fans will have at the stadium will be an exponential jump from what we could deliver at Memorial Stadium.”
The ownership groups of both Reign FC and the Tacoma Rainiers plan on working towards a partnership that will benefit both clubs. Predmore also sent an open letter out to Reign FC fans where he expressed his excitement for the move to Tacoma.
“We also spent time getting to know the city, and again we came away impressed,” Predmore said. “Tacoma is a city on the rise. It has an understated charm, many areas of undeniable beauty, and has incredible potential to be the next great city in the Pacific Northwest.”
“We truly believe the best is yet to come, and we are hopeful that you will continue to support Reign FC as we make this incredible journey forward,” Predmore said.
The 2019 NWSL season is set to kickoff the weekend of Apr. 13–14. Be on the lookout for the release of Reign FC’s schedule, as details of their home match dates should be announced soon.