Tulsa Roughnecks News Release -- www.uslprotulsa.com
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
TULSA, Okla. – The wait is finally over! Tulsa’s newest, professional soccer team now has a name, and it will be a familiar one to many long-time soccer fans. The city’s new USL PRO franchise will be called the Tulsa Roughnecks.
The name was selected by fans in a Tulsa World Media Company Name Your Team Contest. The name Roughnecks was the overwhelming choice from four selections in the final round of the contest.
The name Roughnecks received nearly 50 percent of the total votes, almost as many votes as the other three names combined. Tulsa Strike finished second in the voting with 25%, FC Tulsa was third with 16% and Oil City FC was fourth with 9%.
The new team’s official name with be Tulsa Roughnecks FC.
“We want to have soccer fans strongly involved with this team,” said Mike Melega. “That is why we wanted to do a Name Your Team Contest, so we could see what fans wanted and preferred in their team’s name.
“Throughout the voting process, it became clear that the nickname Roughnecks has come to be the name that soccer fans associate with Tulsa professional soccer. It is our city’s soccer identity here and throughout the country and we are excited to bring it back.
“We realize the name may be unpopular with some fans and also realize that it comes with lofty expectations. We are not trying to present this team as the past Roughnecks, because we have so much to prove as both a team and an organization. But, like that franchise, we do want to work to build a club and an operation that everyone in the city can be proud of. We hope the name will help introduce the game and the city’s soccer history to a new generation of fans.”
The original Tulsa Roughnecks began play in the North American Soccer League in 1978 when Texas businessman H. Ward Lay moved the franchise from Hawaii. The team played in the NASL, the United States’ top flight league at the time, from 1978-1984, capturing the NASL Championship in 1983.
“Jeff and I’s father, Went Hubbard, made a commitment more than 25 years ago to operate a quality, professional baseball franchise in the city of Tulsa,” said Roughnecks majority owner Dale Hubbard. “We are very excited to now expand that commitment to the beautiful game of soccer with the long overdue return of a professional franchise to our city. We look forward to being involved in the soccer community as we are with the baseball community. There is a lot of work to do in the next 12 months, but we cannot wait until the first game comes to ONEOK Field.”
The organization will now begin work immediately on developing team colors, team logos and uniforms. Those items will be released later this spring or summer.
USL PRO is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league on and off the field below and in support of Major League Soccer (MLS). In 2013 USL PRO began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that features individual team affiliations, inter-league play, and the opportunity for MLS clubs to field a second team in USL PRO. It is expected that the Roughnecks will have an affiliation in place by the time they play their first game in March of next year.
The Roughnecks will play their home games at ONEOK Field in downtown Tulsa. Season tickets for the inaugural season are now on sale with fans able to secure a priority position for selecting seat locations by placing a $25 per seat deposit.
Below are comments written by fans during the Name Your Team process.
“It only makes sense to revive the Roughnecks name and enable a new generation of fans to wear it proudly on jerseys and scarves and to sing it loud in supporter’s songs during games in downtown Tulsa. A revised Tulsa Roughnecks logo/shield could also incorporate a single star, signifying the win in the 1983 Soccer Bowl as a means of recognizing the city’s history in a manner appropriate with soccer clubs around the world.” – B. Parker, Tulsa
“The Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps chose to continue their NASL legacy, so should Tulsa. I directed most of the Roughneck away games for Channel Eight and continue directing soccer, including ten years of MLS network coverage for ESPN and ABC Sports, Women's World Cup and the US Men's National Team matches. To this day, the US soccer community knows Tulsa as the home of the Roughnecks.” – D. Wren, Tulsa
“The name Roughnecks will probably be the most submitted, and it should be. There is history here, and we shouldn't ignore it, but build on a solid foundation. The term Roughnecks also has strong ties to the area, with our lengthy history and commercial legacy tied with oil and gas. We should embrace our history, and move forward with it.” – A. Holdsclaw, Tulsa
“It's our name!! Its relevance needs no explanation! – J. Crain, Tulsa