TACOMA, WASH. – In a press conference that detailed a compelling vision for the future of soccer in the South Sound, Seattle Reign FC today announced that it would move its operations to Tacoma and play its home matches in Cheney Stadium beginning with the 2019 NWSL season.
“We spent a lot of time inside Cheney Stadium to imagine the matchday experience we could provide,” said Seattle Reign FC owner and President Bill Predmore. “We can say with certainty that the experience our players and fans will have at Cheney Stadium will be an exponential jump from what we could deliver at Memorial Stadium.”
The club has called Seattle’s Memorial Stadium home for the past five seasons, during which it hosted two NWSL semi-final matches, delivered a two-year home unbeaten streak over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, and showcased the talents of some of the greatest female footballers on the planet.
“We worked incredibly hard over the past year to find a solution that would allow us to continue playing our home matches in Seattle, but the requirements imposed by the NWSL limited our options,” said Predmore. “Out of these challenging circumstances arose an opportunity that fills us with great optimism for our future.”
Predmore added, “Over the last year we spent a significant amount of time with the group operating the Rainiers and Sounders FC’s USL squad. We were found their vision for growing the game in Tacoma extremely compelling. The more we talked, the more we believed Tacoma could be an ideal long-term option for our organization.”
Predmore continued, “We also spent time getting to know the city, and again we came away impressed. 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. It ultimately became clear that Tacoma was the best possible option for our organization.”
The team also revealed that it will now be known as Reign FC, debuting an evolved identity that retains the essential elements of the iconic shield in a bold new mark.
“The name change reflects not just our move to the South Sound, but also celebrates our ambition to represent the entire region,” said Predmore. “Tacoma will be our home, but we’ll invest significant effort to retain our connection to Seattle and the Eastside. Our key partners, including Zulily, Microsoft, Avanade and BECU, will help us remain a vital part of the community. We also plan to expand Reign Academy, increasing the number of female players we are able to serve, further cementing our commitment to the entire region.”
In conjunction with the move to Tacoma the club significantly expanded its ownership group. The group operating the Rainiers and Sounders FC’s USL side – led by Mikal Thomsen, Chairman and CEO of the Tacoma Rainiers – will take a minority ownership stake in Reign FC. In addition, Adrian Hanauer and his mother, Lenore Hanauer, will also make a separate minority investment in the club.
“Adrian and Lenore have both been supportive of our club since its inception, so we are excited to welcome them to the Reign FC ownership group,” said Predmore. “The renewed strength of the ownership group will provide long-term stability, support and strategic leadership that will ensure that Reign FC is able to achieve success both on and off the pitch.”
“On behalf of Lenore Hanauer, we are excited to make this additional commitment to soccer in our community and specifically to the women’s game in our region,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “With our partners at Reign FC and the Tacoma Rainiers, we look forward to delivering a first-class product on the field in the South Sound for years to come.”
Said Thomsen, “Today is a proud day for our organization, as we welcome a new professional team into the fold, and one that we know will inspire and entertain our community for generations. In Reign FC, world-class women’s soccer has come to Tacoma, and we want to join with our partners at Sounders FC in heralding their arrival.”
While Cheney Stadium represents a major upgrade from Reign FC’s prior home at Memorial Stadium, the future may hold an even greater opportunity for the team, its fans, and for the city of Tacoma and Pierce County.
Sounders FC and the Tacoma Rainiers previously reached a historic agreement to build a 5,000-seat facility in Central Tacoma on the footprint of Cheney Stadium. In the past year, the Metro Parks Tacoma Board and Tacoma City Council have approved resolutions to proceed with feasibility studies of the project, with the involved parties developing a three-part concept to serve the Tacoma and greater Pierce County communities. That feasibility process is currently underway, evaluating the opportunities in each part of the project. After these studies are complete, the public will have ample time to review, evaluate and comment.
“We are excited to work with the Rainiers and Sounders to help make the new stadium a reality,” said Predmore. “We are the newest citizens of the Tacoma community, so we’ll do everything we can to help the city realize its full potential. We are thrilled to call the city our new home.”
Fans wishing to purchase tickets to Reign FC’s upcoming matches may visit www.reignfc.com/tickets to place a deposit for their season ticket membership. Reign FC’s 2019 schedule is expected to be released in early February.
About Reign FC
Reign FC is one of nine teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. The NWSL is the premier women’s professional soccer league in North America, featuring many of the top players from the United States and around the world. Reign FC is set to begin its first campaign in the South Sound at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium in 2019. For more information on the club visit ReignFC.com.