It was a big day for soccer in Tacoma on Jan. 30 as several major announcements were made during a press conference at Cheney Stadium. Mayor Victoria Woodards began by announcing that Reign FC, a member of the National Women’s Soccer League, is relocating from Seattle to Tacoma. The mayor said the team “will feature the highest level of professional athletes to call Tacoma home.” She noted that members of the team have competed in the Olympics and the Women’s World Cup. One of the team’s star players, Megan Rapinoe, participated in the press conference. The mayor thanked Rapinoe for being a positive role model for young women.
Reign FC is one of the eight inaugural members of the NWSL, which was founded in 2012. The club played its first season at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. The following year, the team began playing games at Memorial Stadium at Seattle Stadium. That facility has proven to be less than ideal for soccer. Rapinoe said she had discussed the benefits of moving to Cheney Stadium with her teammates. She said all of them are thrilled about playing on a grass surface, rather than the aging artificial turf at Memorial Stadium. “This will extend my playing career by five years,” she remarked.
Another big announcement regarded S2, the USL affiliate of the Seattle Sounders FC. S2 played its home games at Cheney Stadium. The team held a contest for fans to select a new name for the club. They will now be known as Tacoma Defiance.
Tacoma Rainiers President Aaron Artman said the name was chosen from more than 1,000 entries. He said the new name ties into Point Defiance Park and the city’s maritime heritage. The primary logo is crafted after the USS Point Defiance. Commissioned in 1955, the combat craft was named after the park and saw action during the Vietnam War. The waters that surround Tacoma are legendary as habitat of the giant Pacific octopus. The main logo depicts octopus arms poised to wrap around the ship, while the tertiary logo shows a human arm reaching out of the water, clutching an octopus arm.
Representatives of MultiCare Health System were on hand to announce their organization as the new presenting partner of Tacoma Defiance. MultiCare logos will be featured on the team’s home and road jerseys. MultiCare is also involved with plans for a future soccer-specific stadium near Cheney along South 19th Street. It will build a 60,000-square-foot clinic that will focus on treating sports injuries.
Aaron Pointer, president of the Metro Parks Commission, said Tacoma Defiance is a great name for the team. He acknowledged the passion and support of local sports fans. “Without you, none of this would be as exciting as it is.”