SEATTLE — The OL Reign is moving back to Seattle and will call Lumen Field home next year. The National Women’s Soccer League Club made the official announcement during a 10 a.m. press conference Monday.
The move ends a rather tumultuous three-season run at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium, where the team had moved after playing games at Seattle’s Memorial Stadium.
The move to Tacoma was made with the idea it would spur the construction of a soccer-specific stadium and redevelopment near Cheney, but those plans were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The decision was made with the expectation that Cheney Stadium would serve as an interim solution while a soccer-specific stadium was designed and constructed in Tacoma through a public/private partnership between the Seattle Sounders, Tacoma Rainiers, City of Tacoma, and Metro Parks Tacoma,” the team wrote in a prepared statement. “The new soccer-specific stadium was envisioned to be ready for the start of the 2022 NWSL season. Work on the stadium project was suspended in early 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, in an effort to revitalize the project, OL Reign took the lead on revising the feasibility study to assess the viability of a larger, 10,000 seat stadium that could accommodate the anticipated future growth of the club. Given the results of the revised feasibility study from both a cost and timing perspective, it became clear that developing a 10,000 seat stadium in Tacoma was not a viable option at this time.”
Lumen Field opened in 2002 and is currently home to the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders.
“We are grateful for the support of the community in Tacoma, and especially for the efforts of all the individuals and organizations who worked so hard on the new stadium project,” OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore said in a statement. “In particular, the support of Mayor Woodards—who from the start was our biggest fan in Tacoma—will always be appreciated by our organization.”
But the franchise, led by U.S. Women’s National Team stars Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle, now know what the franchise could do at Lumen Field.
In August, the OL Reign played a doubleheader with the Seattle Sounders, where both franchises’ played their Portland rivals. The OL Reign drew an NWSL-record of 27,278 fans to watch the squad in a 2-1 victory over the Portland Thorns.
Lumen Field has a maximum capacity of 68,740. The team will open the stadium gradually in conjunction with the attendance starting with seating on the lower east stadium bowl.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards issued the following statement:
“We are grateful to OL Reign for being a part of our community and our traditions. While we will cherish our memories of these times, the City of Tacoma remains deeply committed to equity, and I am heartened to see the women of OL Reign gain access to soccer facilities that are on par with those of their male counterparts. While that may have resulted in a change in venue in this case, we will continue to root for their success. We look forward to building on conversations with our partners and exploring opportunities to fully activate Tacoma’s sports amenities.”
The organizations said club seating, suites, and other premium seating options will also be available. Season tickets will go on sale Wednesday, December 15, at 10 a.m. PT. Tickets start at $15 per match and can be purchased online or by calling 866-997-3446.