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Excitement Surrounds Las Vegas’ USL Arrival

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 08/13/17, 7:10AM EDT


Lashbrook eager to kick off rivalry with Reno when 2018 season kicks off

Photo courtesy Jim Oberg / Las Vegas Pro Soccer

LAS VEGAS – The sense of excitement emanating from Las Vegas Pro Soccer’s Brett Lashbrook as his organization was welcomed into the USL for the 2018 on Friday afternoon at the Zappos Theater was visible.

So much so that before the choices for the team’s official name were unveiled on stage, he was making sure of which club would be visiting Cashman Field for the club’s inaugural home opener next March.

“So, the Governor and I are talking backstage, and you know what he said? Let’s play Reno [1868 FC], first game,” said Lashbrook. “I can’t back down from a challenge, right? So per the Governor’s request, I’m here to ask the league for our first game in March, our first USL game in Las Vegas, against Reno, we’re bringing it.”

“It’s a done deal,” said USL President Jake Edwards from his seat on the stage, a wide smile on his face as the second USL club in the state of Nevada was unveiled.

Such was the mood of Friday’s press conference, which saw the venue full of the sort of fans that Lashbrook expects will fill Cashman Field as the final member of the USL Class of 2018 next year. Almost three years since first meeting with Councilman Ricki Barlow, Lashbrook’s goal of bringing professional soccer had become real.

“When my family decided we were going to invest in professional soccer, there was only one league we would consider, one league, and one league only, and that’s the United Soccer League,” said Lashbrook. “It’s professional, it’s honest, it has the growth of the game and the true spirit of soccer and where it’s supposed to go at the core of its business, and that’s the sort of people we want to do business with.”

Photo courtesy Jim Oberg / Las Vegas Pro Soccer

For Edwards, the achievement of adding another team to the USL’s strong Southwest contingent was the ending to a remarkable week that saw the league both introduce Birmingham, Alabama as the USL’s first expansion team for 2019, and re-introduce Austin, Texas for its return to the league in the same year.

Additionally, bringing Lashbrook and his family into the USL family was an exciting day for Edwards and the league, with Lashbrook’s prior work in collaboration with the league through Major League Soccer and Orlando City SC making him an ideal partner to bring professional soccer to Las Vegas.

“This day certainly wouldn’t happen without the hard work, dedication and commitment of Brett and his family, and all of his partners who have spent the better part of three years working on this,” said Edwards. “We pride ourselves on the quality of ownership we have in our league, and we know Brett and his family are going to be a tremendous addition to our ownership group.

“I’ve had the good fortune to know Brett and work with him for the better part of four years now in his various roles in the industry, and I can attest to his quality, and his ability to execute. Brett and his family are going to deliver a top-quality professional soccer club that you guys will be so proud to call your own.”

Governor Brian Sandoval was also delighted by the addition of the USL to the city’s sporting landscape, which now includes the NHL’s Golden Knights, with the NFL’s Raiders set to arrive in 2020. Sandoval paid tribute to Lashbrook, and the work of Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Barlow, in making Friday a memorable day for the city.

“The time has come for this community to have professional soccer, and I can’t be more proud, or more excited to have the USL right here in Las Vegas,” said Sandoval. “Brett, I really love your enthusiasm, and your family’s enthusiasm. What it’s going to mean for downtown Las Vegas, it’s going to mean great things. I can picture the march to the game, it’s going to be a lot of fun with the drums and the chants. There’s nothing better than going to a soccer game and listening to the fans.”

As the airhorns and chants that filled the venue regularly throughout the afternoon attested, a day that seemed long overdue had finally arrived.

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