Would be Southland’s fourth team
The City of Lancaster, the United Soccer League and Antelope Valley Soccer, Inc. have announced plans to bring men’s professional and women’s pre-professional soccer to the Antelope Valley.
The teams will play at Lancaster Municipal Stadium, which will be converted from its minor league baseball configuration to a 5,300 seat, soccer-specific stadium. The public-private partnership will bring professional soccer to the Antelope Valley to be played in only the fourth professional soccer-specific stadium in Southern California.
USL Antelope Valley is led by John Smelzer, serving as founder and president. Smelzer has held legal and commercial roles with World Cup USA 1994, the NFL, NBC Olympics, and FOX Sports.
Now in its 13th season, the United Soccer League (USL) has grown into a globally respected organization that is shaping the future of soccer in America as the first to build complete youth-to-pro pathways for men and women in one ecosystem.
The USL W League is the nation’s premier pre-professional league, developing the next generation of women’s talent both on and off the field, and enhancing the women’s soccer pipeline between college and professional soccer. With more than 65 teams and a national footprint, the USL W League has brought elite women’s soccer to communities nationwide.
The clubs are expected to offer affordable ticket plans as well as new club seats and existing suites. Lancaster Municipal Stadium will feature a traditional, standing-only "supporters’ section" behind the north goal, the future home of the club’s most fervent fans, "The 661." Completion is expected in 2025.
In the coming months, USL Antelope Valley will be hosting listening sessions with its growing group of supporters, hearing firsthand what the community wants and expects from the club - from values to branding to community service - and everything in between. The club hopes to unveil its official name, colors, and crest in March 2024, and aims to kick off in 2025.
"Over the past several months, we’ve spent hundreds of hours in the community meeting face-to-face with our supporters – fans, players, coaches, parents, teachers and community leaders of all types,” Smelzer said. “This is a diverse community, both demographically and geographically. We are united by our love of the game and our shared commitment to create opportunity for our kids and civic pride for our community. We are One Valley. We will be One Club."
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris is equally excited about the new sports teams.
“Lancaster Municipal Stadium, affectionately known as ‘The Hangar,’ has long been a beacon of pride for our community,” Parris said. “Over the years, we’ve not only preserved its legacy but enhanced it. Now, as it gears up to host both professional and amateur soccer, along with diverse community events and concerts, it promises to be a hub of excitement and opportunity. It’s not just a stadium – it’s where the dreams of our young talents meet reality, especially with USL Antelope Valley championing their aspirations."
Stay updated on the teams’ progress, announcements, and season ticket information by signing up at www.USLAntelopeValley.com and follow @USL_AV on Twitter, and @USLAntelopeValley on Instagram, and Facebook.