SHERMAN, Texas & TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League today announced it has entered into an exclusive partnership with USL Texoma, a group dedicated to bringing a professional soccer club to the Texoma region. USL Texoma plans to utilize Historic Bearcat Stadium as the temporary site for a professional USL League One team, followed by a pre-professional USL W League team as the group looks to build its future stadium and facilities.
USL Texoma is led by founders Simon Keizer and Ben Watson. Both Keizer and Watson have significant ties to the Texoma community and an immense passion for growing the sport in the region. Keizer and Watson have spent the past year meeting and engaging with community and soccer leaders from around the globe to shape what is to be the future professional soccer franchise in their hometown.
"Truly, the timing has never been better to launch this project. It's no secret that Texoma is primed for catalytic growth with the influx of $35 billion worth of businesses coming to the region," said USL Texoma President, Ben Watson. "Soccer in America is on a once-in-a-lifetime runway with the FIFA Club World Cup in 2025 and the FIFA World Cup in 2026, both happening right here in North America. Not to mention, Dallas, just 60 miles away, is the leading candidate to host the FIFA World Cup Final."
"Over the last twelve months, we've spent thousands of hours in the community building something special here in Texoma," said USL Texoma CEO, Simon Keizer. "This is a diverse community, both demographically and geographically. We desire to bring a family-centric project that creates goodwill and leverages local business and charitable partnerships locally and globally. We are united by our love of the game and our shared commitment to creating opportunity for our kids and pride for our community. We are one region. United, we are Texoma!"
The Texoma region is located north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, anchored by the cities of Sherman and Denison. Combined with the surrounding municipalities, the Texoma area has a diverse and growing population of more than 325,000. Poised for growth with the introduction of the $30 billion Texas Instruments and $5 billion Globitech factories, Texoma is an untapped soccer hotbed of both players and fans alike.
"Interest in soccer has exploded in Texoma over the last decade, as leagues for all ages fill our parks every weekend," said Mayor of Sherman, David Plyer. "The arrival of the USL in Sherman is incredibly exciting for so many reasons. Giving our citizens the chance to watch these wonderful players right in our backyard is a tremendous boon for our city, as well as the surrounding communities."
Ahead of the inaugural season, the club is focusing on developing its newly formed youth academy in Texoma. A priority on developing local players to give them a unique pathway to achieve their dreams of playing professionally is at the forefront of the club. The club will be identifying new youth players ages 4+ this December/January and then again in May/June of 2024. All inquiries can be directed to the club website under the youth tab.
"The USL is shaping the future of soccer in the United States by bringing high-quality professional soccer to new and emerging markets," said USL Deputy CEO and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis. "We look forward to seeing the community in Texoma embrace the beautiful game the same way we’ve seen all across the country."
With over three billion fans worldwide, soccer is the world’s most popular sport uniting communities around the globe. The impact on Texas' sports tourism economy is anticipated to generate more than $10 million in tax revenue for the region and create upwards of 50 permanent jobs for the community.
The club will offer affordable ticket plans as well as a standing-only supporters section to build a truly electric atmosphere for home matches. Historic Bearcat Stadium was built in 1940 and has a capacity of 6,500.
In the coming weeks, USL Texoma will be conducting a brand survey with its growing group of supporters, hearing firsthand what the community envisions as the identity of the club. The club plans to unveil its official name, colors and crest this December and plans to kick off in USL League One in 2025.