More soccer in Oklahoma, please.
The Oklahoma City Energy was the state’s first addition to the United Soccer Leagues when it officially unveiled its colors and name in November. The Energy will have company soon, as the USL announced Wednesday that an expansion franchise in Tulsa will join the league for the 2015 season.
Prodigal LLC, the same company that owns the Energy and operates the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League, will be majority owner of the new soccer team in Tulsa. Along with Sacramento Republic FC, the Energy is one of two expansion franchises set to debut in 2014 in USL PRO — the “strongest, most sophisticated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below and in support of MLS.”
The name of the Tulsa franchise will be determined through a “Name Your Team” contest in early 2014. The team will play its home games at ONEOKField, home of the Tulsa Drillers Double-A baseball team.
Professional soccer will return to Tulsa for the first time since the NASL Tulsa Roughnecks played their final season in 1984.
“We are very excited to be involved in bringing a high level of professional, outdoor soccer back to the city of Tulsa,” Drillers General Manager Mike Melega said via press release. “We feel that Tulsa is a great soccer market, and this return is long overdue.
Brian Straus of SI.com’s Planet Futbol blog says that expansion in the MLS and USL will directly affect the Oklahoma City and Tulsa franchises.
— Energy FC (@EnergyFC) December 19, 2013