Wednesday, July 15, 2015
The fastest-growing sport in the United States is coming to one of the fastest-growing areas of the country.
The USL announced on Wednesday the Rio Grande Valley had been awarded its 25th franchise, with RGV FC set to begin play in the 2016 season. Led by Owner Alonzo Cantu, also the owner of the NBA Development League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the club also unveiled plans for a state-of-the-art stadium that is anticipated to hold a capacity of 10,000 fans in Edinburg, Texas.
“[Cantu] is a native son of this area, a hugely successful businessman across a number of industries,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “He is a man of vision, and a man who is truly committed to building and providing complete excellence in whatever he does on behalf of the Rio Grande Valley. We are thrilled that Alonzo Cantu is the owner of this football club, we welcome him to our USL family, and we thank him for supporting our sport.”
Edwards was effusive in his praise for the work of team President Bert Garcia in making RGV FC a reality.
“Bert has driven this project from the very beginning,” Edwards said. “I have been truly impressed with his leadership of the organization, turning the Vipers into one of the most well-attended and highest-performing franchises in the NBA D-League. We feel hugely confident he will continue that success with the football club.”
With a population of 1.3 million people across the four-county area, the Rio Grande Valley has seen remarkable growth in the past few years, including a major surge in its millennial population. Local soccer fans, many of whom are members of the area’s American Outlaws chapter, will now have the opportunity to support their own local team.
Work has already begun on the club’s stadium, which is being modeled on BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, and Avaya Stadium in San Jose. Garcia said he hoped that the stadium and its surrounding area would become a centerpiece for the community, with a public park included in the facility’s plans.
“This is a major project, and none of this is possible without the support of the community,” said Garcia. “The fan support, people wearing orange, I know my Outlaws came out, we appreciate the support.”