COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. & TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League has named Colorado Springs as the host city for the 2023 USL Summer Showcase. The USL and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will welcome the U.S. soccer community to a multi-day event that will celebrate the culture and momentum of our sport, showcase the Switchbacks’ marquee home stadium, Weidner Field, and have a lasting impact on the Colorado Springs community.
The USL Summer Showcase includes the League’s annual mid-year meetings, community events and partner activations. It all culminates in a nationally televised match between Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and FC Tulsa on Wednesday, August 9 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
“Colorado Springs offers a beautiful city, stadium and backdrop for the 2023 USL Summer Showcase,” said USL Chief Commercial Officer Court Jeske. “The world-class facility of Weidner Field, combined with the vibrant downtown entertainment district surrounding the stadium, make Colorado Springs an ideal location for our annual mid-year meetings. We are especially excited to shine a spotlight on the city and these two ambitious clubs via our partners at ESPN.”
Representatives from the USL’s ecosystem of more than 200 professional and pre-professional clubs across the country will participate in the meetings and watch the match in Colorado Springs.
“We are thrilled to host this year’s USL Summer Showcase in Olympic City USA,” said Visit Colorado Springs President & CEO Doug Price. “This event is being supported in-part by our city’s Lodging & Auto Rental tax and will surely benefit our local economy. The USL Summer Showcase will drive athletes, their families and spectators to explore the growing south end of Downtown Colorado Springs.”
Founded in 2014 by the Ragain Family, the Switchbacks were established in Colorado Springs to align with the city’s vision to establish a ‘City of Champions’ which included a downtown stadium concept. The club opened Weidner Field, a new 8,000-seat stadium costing more than $47 million, for the 2021 season. Sitting at an altitude of 6,035 feet, the stadium is the highest soccer-specific venue used by a professional soccer team in the United States.
Weidner Field has become one of the iconic venues in the USL Championship since its opened in 2021, sitting at an altitude of 6,035 feet. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
“The USL has dramatically advanced professional soccer since we launched the Switchbacks expansion franchise in 2013,” Switchbacks President Nick Ragain said. “There is no better demonstration than our story here in Olympic City USA at Weidner Field, and the adjacent Experience at Epicenter mixed use development that's under construction. USL franchises are bringing communities together, inspiring young people, and changing urban landscapes across the country, so it is a great honor to host so many impactful leaders here in Colorado Springs.”
The Summer Showcase will bring together two sides with new coaches and revamped rosters in pursuit of a spot in the USL Championship Playoffs.
The Switchbacks are led by first-year Head Coach Stephen Hogan who joined the club in 2021 as an assistant coach and became the club’s Technical Director at the end of that season. The club reached last year’s Western Conference Final and ranked fifth overall with 64 goals scored as one of the most attacking sides in the league. This season’s new-look Switchbacks will aim to replicate last season’s success, led by El Salvador international Jairo Henriquez and Jamaican veteran Speedy Williams.
Tulsa is led by first-year Head Coach Blair Gavin, who previously served as an assistant coach with Phoenix Rising FC (2018-2020) and Columbus Crew SC (2022). The second-youngest head coach in the league this season, Gavin inherits a team that brough in several reinforcements in pursuit of a playoff berth after missing out last campaign, including New Zealand international Moses Dyer and midfielder Blaine Ferri.
“We are grateful to the USL and Colorado Springs for the opportunity to participate in this event,” FC Tulsa President Sam Doerr said. “We look forward to showcasing Tulsa and our club on a national and league-wide stage.”