Officials expect to announce pro soccer team Wednesday in Louisv - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Officials expect to announce pro soccer team Wednesday in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Negotiations to bring a pro soccer team to Louisville are heating up, and a major announcement is expected this week.

For 14 years, the Louisville Bats have called Slugger Field home.

In a matter of days, a minor league professional soccer team is expected to be added to that roster.

Wayne Estopinal is leading the effort.

"We're hoping to be able to announce that all the negotiations are done. Everything is set up. And we'll be ready to announce that we're bringing the best USL Franchise in the last 5 years to Louisville, Kentucky," said Wayne Estopinal.

In order for the city to later put support into building a soccer specific stadium, the team must hit certain attendance numbers during the first few years.

Bats President, Gary Ulmer, says the baseball team already has their 2015 schedule set.

"And really then they've got the pick of all the rest of the games from mid-March through September, except for the day before the Bats return and play baseball. Other dates will be wide open," said Louisville Bats President Gary Ulmer.

Estopinal says that leaves more mid-week games and fewer weekends for the soccer team, and there is concern about attendance numbers.

The attendance threshold for the first year is 3,500 people a game.

"We've asked the city in negotiations even on Sunday afternoon if they would consider lowering the threshold 500 or 1,000 people, because we just don't think we will draw as well during the mid-week games. They seem very willing to look at that," said Estopinal.

Soccer enthusiasts are hoping the negotiations can quickly come together, and say they believe they can fill a lot of the seats at Slugger Field.

Gary Ulmer says he believes Slugger Field is an asset for the entire community.

"Whether it's soccer or any other community event, if the ballpark's open and it makes sense to come to the ballpark, then we're anxious to host it," said Ulmer.

Negotiations continue for the soccer deal.

The Mayor's budget proposal did include $581,000 dollars to renovate Slugger Field for the pro soccer team.

The Mayor's office is not commenting on the negotiations.

There will be an official announcement on Wednesday at 2:00 at Slugger Field, where people will be able to meet the coach and see the team logo.

www.LouisvilleCityFC.com is now accepting reservations for season tickets. 

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