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Sports >  International sports

Cindy Wendle will lead USL efforts in Spokane

UPDATED: Mon., June 21, 2021

Wendle  (Courtesy photo)
Wendle (Courtesy photo)

Back in college, Cindy Wendle dreamed of becoming a collegiate athletic director.

In many ways, Wendle will be doing just that as the United Soccer League’s top representative as it works to bring a franchise to Spokane.

The USL made it official on Monday, naming Wendle as president of USL to Spokane. In that capacity, she will lead all facets of the day-to-day operations, laying the necessary foundation and building the initial infrastructure for an expansion club to be officially awarded to Spokane.

If all goes as planned, the team will begin operations in the spring of 2023 at the downtown stadium approved last month by Spokane Public Schools. Wendle also will represent the USL in the planning and construction of the 5,000-seat stadium.

“As we’ve said from the beginning, we believe that Spokane has all the ingredients to be one of the most passionate soccer communities in North America, and these next several months will be critical in laying the groundwork for that,” said Justin Papadakis, the league’s COO and chief real estate officer.

“Having someone on the ground with deep ties to the community such as Cindy will be a tremendous asset,” Papadakis said.

Growing up in Pullman, Wendle was immersed in sports. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Wendle said she wanted to be an athletic director at the university level, and interned in the school’s marketing department.

“I’ve had a passion for sports all my life,” Wendle said.

Wendle moved to Spokane in 1997, returned to Pullman for six years and has been back in Spokane since 2014. She has three sons, Ben, 22 years old, Nick, 20, and Jack, 16 .

She moved to Pullman in 2008. Once her youngest son entered kindergarten, Wendle pursued an opportunity to work for Washington Trust Bank in 2012, opening and managing three branches new to the Palouse in Pullman, Moscow and Lewiston.

Wendle was promoted to assistant vice president and moved to Spokane in 2014 to lead their main branch team. Community interests included serving on the Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation Board and, once back in the Spokane area, she reengaged with Vanessa Behan to serve on the organization’s Board of Trustees.

She most recently contracted with Spokane County on CARES Act grant programs and community initiatives.

In addition to work and real estate interests, Wendle serves on the boards of both the Northeast Public Development Authority and Family Promise.

She has been an active participant in the community effort to bring professional soccer to Spokane.

“Soccer is an international passion. It bridges cultural, economic and regional boundaries, to enjoy a match-day experience like no other sport can offer,” Wendle said.

Several years ago, Wendle volunteered for her son’s soccer club, then served on the board as club treasurer and interim administrator for Washington East Soccer Club.

In 2019, Wendle ran unsuccessfully for Spokane City Council president.

Wendle is co-owner of Northtown Square, a 70,000 square foot commercial retail shopping center.

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