The chances for getting a new sports stadium in downtown Boise continue to increase, as stakeholders look at 11 acres near Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive. Minor league baseball would be a part of that - with the Boise Hawks. But what about professional soccer?
It’s been almost two years since the Basque Soccer Friendly, a professional soccer match between teams from Spain and Mexico, was held in Boise, in July 2015. The popularity of that event has made some ask: Why don’t we have professional soccer in the Treasure Valley?
Skyler Bell of the Idaho Youth Soccer Association points to this tournament as a litmus test. "The seeds were really planted around the time that the Basque Friendly was getting put together," he says. "So from that, came the idea that we could pull this off. The soccer community is behind the idea of coming to watch soccer in Boise. There’s been talk about a new stadium for the Hawks for a really long time. When you can bring in more beneficiaries all of a sudden you get more people who are on board."
Boise has become a test market for Major League Soccer.
"Major League Soccer, which is the highest level of professional soccer in the country, has different sizes of markets," explains Skyler. "Some markets like Portland are very small and some markets like Los Angeles are very big. To help even that out they assign non-MLS territory to an MLS club. Idaho was given as homegrown territory to the Portland Timbers."
Skyler says that the Portland Timbers are no longer part of the mix, but there may be future interest from the United Soccer League, which is a step below the MLS, but is still professional soccer.
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