LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Professional soccer appears to be on its way to Louisville. A Jeffersonville investor will help make an official announcement this week to move the Orlando City Soccer Club to the River City.
With Louisville Slugger Field slated to be the team's temporary home, there were worries about scheduling problems between the Bats baseball team and soon-to-be-named Louisville City Football Club. But after a meeting Sunday it appears those issues are cleared for both teams to play ball.
Baseball fan Stephanie Mercado said of seeing soccer in a baseball stadium, "It's not far from home and I'm a big soccer fan so I probably would come out to watch."
For many baseball fans, the idea of a short turn-around time to flip the fields around between baseball and soccer games isn't a big deal. They said getting to watch the new game in a beautiful, well known and much loved venue is a win-win.
"It's got some nice views and there's no bad spot at all," baseball fan Sara Ender said of Louisville Slugger Field.
But what do the Louisville Bats really think? They've never shared Louisville Slugger Field. The goal from the beginning was to create an amazing ball park for Triple-A baseball. Louisville Bats President Gary Ulmer says they have 72 games and in April of 2015 the Louisville City FC will have 18 games.
It takes a day to change the field.
Ulmer says the overlap could leave the bats swinging for some weekend dates. Still, he believes it will work.
Mayor Greg Fischer's budget includes the $581,000 for soccer locker rooms and the soccer team has agreed to pay for a retractable mound and the costs to cover the dirt with artificial turf. Ulmer added, "We planted this new warm weather grass last season and we believe that it will do very well in the summer and as long as we have one day off to let the field recover between a soccer game and a baseball game, we think we will be in good shape."
For many Louisvillians who love baseball, soccer is all in the family. Fan Tom Schurfranz explained, "Minor league soccer coming to Louisville will be a great idea."
Schurfranz has one son who just finished playing at DeSales High and said, "Another will finish his senior year there next year and another son referees so, we love soccer, so if they brought a minor league team here yeah we'd be here to watch them in a heartbeat."
Jeffersonville, Indiana investor Wayne Estopinal said the official word will be at Louisville Slugger Field Wednesday at 2 p.m. He said if they can prove there's support for pro soccer in Louisville, they hope to have their own stadium in a couple of years.
Already, Estopinal said some 1,800 people said they are interested in season tickets. All that's left? A final thumbs up from Metro Council.
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