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Sounders, Tacoma Rainiers a step closer to soccer-specific stadium

A rendering of the new Sounders stadium in Tacoma. (Populous via Sounders FC)

The Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Rainiers have reached a Memorandum of Understanding in an effort to build a “soccer-specific” stadium on the footprint of Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.

What are they building?

“We are absolutely thrilled to be moving forward with the Tacoma Rainiers and City of Tacoma, progressing toward construction of a soccer-specific stadium,” said Sounders FC owner Adrian Hanauer. “Our vision of having players begin their time with the club playing at Starfire with the Academy, then move up to the USL team with matches in Tacoma, before finally getting the call-up to the First Team at CenturyLink Field — all while playing within the Puget Sound region — really reinforces our commitment to bringing quality soccer to the communities of Western Washington.”

The current plan is to build a 5,000-seat stadium for the S2 side, which the teams says gives it the ability to call up players from Tacoma.  It’s a relationship much like that of the Mariners and Rainiers.

“This is the art of the possible,” Rainiers President Aaron Artman said. “What can we create, with our community and our partners, that adds to Tacoma’s current trajectory? Now that both parties have agreed on a structure to move forward — as one entity representing USL soccer in Tacoma — it gives us the ability to work together to try to deliver a first-class stadium experience.”

According to information from the Sounders, the move “embraces an opportunity to establish a strong foothold in a market rich with soccer history.”

“While the City must conduct due diligence on this opportunity, we are excited that the Tacoma Rainiers have partnered with the Seattle Sounders to explore building a soccer stadium to bring USL soccer to Tacoma,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “The prospect of having the best Triple-A baseball stadium and the best USL stadium in the country is great for families and sports fans in the 253 area code.”

The Sounders won their first MLS Cup in franchise history last season over Toronto FC.

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