- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - The Seattle Sounders will start an independent lower-division USL Pro team beginning in 2015 called Seattle Sounders FC 2 with 20 percent of the club to be owned by fans through a community trust.

The USL Pro team will allow for Seattle to develop young players and provide additional opportunities for players with the MLS club who might not be getting enough playing time.

The team will play its games at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington, where the Sounders currently have their practice facility. Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said Tuesday that controlling their own USL team was the best option rather than partnering with a current USL Pro franchise. Hanauer said the MLS club is ready to “invest millions” in the USL team over time.

The USL team will be known as “S2.”

“This project is the culmination of several years of work,” Hanauer said. “We started talking about development in a big way several years ago.”

Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said getting a USL franchise in Seattle is important. In the past, Seattle has been forced to loan out players needing additional playing time or development to clubs on the other side of the country. Now, those players can remain in Seattle and get the experience they need.

“Sometimes it’s a big jump from college to the pros,” Schmid said. “Sometimes it’s an even bigger jump from the academy to the pros. … We now have the means to continue growth and development here.”

The Sounders Community Trust will own 20 percent of the USL team through a partnership with the Sounders. The money raised from fans buying into the trust will be used for capital improvements at Starfire.


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