Professional soccer spurs cheers around the globe. Soon, it will do the same here in the Omaha area.
The USL League One team is scheduled to begin play at Werner Park in March, with a 28-game season lasting until October. Werner Park will host 14 of the games.
Omaha previously had two soccer teams that played at lower levels, but the prospects for this effort appear stronger. The team owner is Gary Green, who has demonstrated capable management with his Omaha Storm Chasers minor league baseball team. Martie Cordaro, president and general manager of the Storm Chasers, will hold those titles with the soccer operation.
Accommodating soccer play will require an estimated $2.2 million in improvements to Werner Park. Sarpy County will cover the costs but will be repaid by the team through increased rent. The county’s financial commitment reflects officials’ confidence in management by Green and Cordaro, given their positive track record with the Storm Chasers.
The choice of the team’s coach, Jason Mims, should be of interest to fans of the soccer programs both at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and at Creighton University. Mims was head soccer coach at UNO during 2011-17 and before that was an assistant coach for 10 years at Creighton.
The soccer franchise will solicit community input on the team name, colors and logo through town halls, online polls and workshops. The aim is to finalize the team’s brand by late summer. With decisions in place, the franchise can set operations in motion for the first kickoff next spring. It has the potential to be the start of an important new amenity for the entire Omaha area.