By DAN KARELL
As Major League Soccer continues to look towards the southeast United States for expansion, USL Pro is looking west for theirs.
According to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette, USL Pro will be expanding to Colorado Springs for the 2015 season. A news conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and USL Pro president Tim Holt, Colorado Springs mayor Steve Bach, and franchise owner Martin Ragain are all expected to attend.
The potential team does not yet have a name or a stadium, but is reportedly considering a number of options. The announcement is set to come one day after a proposal by a group called City for Champions for a multi-million dollar project that includes a 10,000 seat outdoor stadium as well as other venues in the area.
USL Pro will have 13 teams next year from across the country, with Oklahoma City and Sacramento as expansion franchises. USL Pro is likely looking to replace Orlando City in 2015 as they make the jump up to MLS.
Here are some more stories to catch you up around the lower leagues of U.S. Soccer:
SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC MAKE FIRST PLAYER SIGNING
On the one year anniversary of their inception, Sacramento Republic FC have signed their first ever player as they head into their first season in USL Pro.
The club announced on Monday evening that former U.S. Under-20 international Rodrigo Lopez has signed a deal with Sacramento Republic to become their first ever player. Lopez, who plays in midfield, has previously played on Chivas USA, the Portland Timbers USL and MLS team, and a short stint with Orlando City in USL Pro.
Sacramento Republic are holding an event at Hot Italian in downtown Sacramento to announce the signing as well as celebrate their first anniversary. Club president Warren Smith, technical director Graham Smith, head coach Preki Radosavljevic, and Lopez will all be at the event.
MINNESOTA UNITED EXERCISE OPTIONS ON 11 PLAYERS
Minnesota United FC have no plans of breaking up the core of their team heading into the 2014 North American Soccer League season.
Following the decision to keep former North American Soccer League MVP winner Pablo Campos with the club into next year, Minnesota United announced that they exercised the contract options of 11 players on their roster for next season, including captain Aaron Pitchkolan and forward Simone Bracalello.
“We are really excited about this core group of guys we have have decided to keep for the 2014 season,” Minnesota United head coach Manny Lagos said in a statement. “We can now focus on building a successful team from this core moving forward. We have some strong pieces in place now and we will continue to build our roster for the 2014 season.”
Bracalello finished last season with seven goals and six assists and will be looked upon to increase those numbers alongside Campos heading into the new season. In addition to the signings, former player and assistant coach Kevin Friedland has left the club to pursue other career opportunities.
What do you think of these reports? Like the idea of expanding USL Pro into Colorado? See Lopez as a good signing for Sacramento? What do you think of Minnesota’s chances in NASL next season?
Share your thoughts below.