EL PASO, TEXAS (February 28, 2018) – The United Soccer League announced today that El Paso, TX will join the league as an expansion city in 2019. The ownership group MountainStar Sports Group (MSSG) will operate the team.
United Soccer League to Expand to El Paso in 2019
El Paso joins Memphis, TN, Birmingham, AL, and Austin, TX as 2019 USL expansion teams. MSSG already owns and operates El Paso Chihuahuas, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball. The group also has part ownership in FC Juaréz, a Mexican soccer team.
“It is with distinct pleasure and great enthusiasm that we welcome the illustrious city of El Paso to the USL family,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “The distinguished ownership group comprised of Woody Hunt, Josh Hunt, Paul Foster and Alejandra De la Vega-Foster add to the world-class ownership groups already present in the USL, and in MountainStar Sports Group President Alan Ledford the group includes one of the most admired executives in professional baseball, whose leadership helped the El Paso Chihuahuas to be recognized as one of MiLB’s most successful teams and to average in the top five in attendance in the Pacific Coast League each of the past four seasons. Add to that the group’s experience in building FC Juarez of Mexico’s Liga Ascenso into a strong organization over the past three years, and the tremendous passion for civic responsibility MountainStar Sports Group has shown throughout its history, I have no doubt this group will propel its new USL team to remarkable achievements both on and off the field in the coming years.”
El Paso boasts a metropolitan population of nearly 700,000 and is the largest city in Texas yet to have professional soccer, when taking into account FC Dallas of MLS in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Josh Hunt, MSSG Chairman and CEO, said, “Since our inception, improving the quality of life in our region and promoting economic development have been our core objectives. We’re very proud to bring this high level of professional soccer to El Paso and to be a part of the USL.”
“Our market has demonstrated the extraordinary way it supports its sports teams, and given the popularity of soccer throughout this region, we expect Division II USL soccer to be very popular,” said Alan Ledford. “MountainStar Sports Group is excited about this opportunity to bring some of the best players in the country to play in front of some of the best fans in the country.”