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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane’s United Soccer League franchise shows strong season ticket sales; schedule to be announced in fall

The bleachers and other structures take shape during construction of the downtown stadium which will be the venue for United Soccer League mens and womens teams, high school football games and other events when it is completed in the fall of 2023.  (JESSE TINSLEY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Jim Allen For The Spokesman-Review

Ryan Harnetiaux can’t wait for next year.

Based on season ticket sales for Spokane’s new United Soccer League franchise, neither can the public.

As of last week, fans had spoken for more than 3,100 tickets .

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for soccer in this region,” said Harnetiaux, who along with his wife Katie are the leaders of Aequus Sports, LLC, the investor group that expects to field three soccer teams next year in the new 5,500-seat, all-purpose stadium under construction north of downtown.

“It’s very exciting,” said Harnetiaux, who noted that he expects the franchise to cap season ticket sales for the men’s USL League One team at 3,400 to allow fans the flexibility to buy smaller packages.

Fans will know in a few months what they will be buying, as the League One schedule will be announced in the fall.

“Then we will know what the schedule will look like,” Harnetiaux said.

One thing is certain: There will be plenty of matches from which to choose. USL Spokane is expected to play about 35 matches in a season that will run from late March to late October, with playoffs to follow “if we’re lucky,” Harnetiaux said.

Spokane will also field two women’s teams. Last week, the USL announced that Spokane will be one of eight franchises to compete next year in the new USL Super League.

That league will follow an international schedule, with the season beginning in August and continuing into spring, with a break during midwinter.

Spokane’s inclusion in the USL’s top women’s league was a surprise to some, but Harnetiaux isn’t among them.

“It’s a really big deal for Spokane to be included,” said Harnetiaux, a Spokane native. “The way I view it, though, Spokane is not a city of 250,000. I look at it as a region with around a million people.”

Meanwhile, USL Spokane, the Spokane Public Facilities District and Spokane Public Schools are laying the groundwork for next year.

During the design phase for the stadium, Harnetiaux said the league has “spent millions of dollars” on upgrading the lighting and seating.

The next step – “one that people have been asking about,” Harnetiaux said – is the announcement of a team nickname, plus logos, gear and the other things that fans can identify with.

A lease agreement is not finalized. Before that can happen, names for the stadium and its field must be agreed upon between the PFD and the school district.

“We hope to have that finalized in the near future,” Harnetiaux said.