Dallas OKs Agreement With Pro Women’s Soccer Team

Soccer ball on field | Image by Krivosheev Vitaly/Shutterstock
Soccer ball on field | Image by Krivosheev Vitaly/Shutterstock

In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, Dallas City Council members approved an agreement making the Cotton Bowl home to a new professional women’s soccer team.

“This is yet another exciting day,” Mayor Eric Johnson said. “I think [this] demonstrates our commitment to sports as a form of economic development and as an engine for economic growth. I think people need to hear that again. Sports are an industry. Entertainment is an industry, and we dominate there, too.”

The agreement provides an annual subsidy of $296,000 for two years to Fair Park operator Oak View Group, as The Dallas Express previously reported.

“We’re recommending this subsidy for you today because our job … is really just for tourism and hospitality and to work to complete the pillars and the goals and the vision for the [Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center] master plan,” said Rosa Fleming, Dallas’ director of convention and event services.

Jim Neil and his family own the new Dallas team that’s a member of the USL Super League. The others are in Brooklyn, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Lexington, Kentucky; Spokane, Washington; Tampa Bay, Florida; and Washington, D.C. In 2025, others in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; Oakland, California; Palm Beach, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; and Tucson, Arizona, are expected to join.

“It’s an honor to be here,” Neil said. “The staff and the people have been so embracing of this project, and it’s just been truly remarkable to see all of you embrace this team and this new project. My family and I are very, very excited about the prospects that we have.”

The USL Super League begins its season in August.

“It’s a brand-new women’s soccer league,” Neil said. “Importantly, it’s a Division One soccer league. That means in the ranks of pro soccer, it’s in the top level throughout the world. It’s very different than other soccer leagues … in the United States. [It] mirrors the international schedule, which is interesting and important because it allows us to trade players with international teams.”

The league plays on a fall-to-summer calendar, “ensuring players are able to represent both club and country and allowing clubs to actively participate in the emerging global women’s transfer market,” according to the league website.

“Built for the future of women’s soccer, the USL Super League has committed to U.S. Soccer’s Division One standards, reflecting its collective vision to be a global leader in women’s soccer on and off the field while providing more opportunities for more women in more communities. ”

Zarin D. Gracey (District 3) chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Sports Recruitment and Retention. He praised that board’s efforts in bringing the new team to Dallas.

“I’m super excited that in the course of just about a couple of weeks, we were able to take huge leaps … on professional sports for women,” he said. “This is not just about sports. It is about that economic impact.”

Omar Narvaez (District 6) is one of seven members of the committee. He called Dallas “the epicenter of professional women’s sports.”

“As [Johnson] alluded earlier, two weeks ago we had a historic vote,” he said. “We have already been supporting women’s sports here in the City of Dallas. A lot of people don’t see cheerleading as a sport, but it is a sport. It’s incredible.”

The “historic vote” came on April 24, when council members decided unanimously to approve a 15-year lease allowing the Dallas Wings to play their home games at Dallas Memorial Auditorium at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center beginning in 2026 following its move from Arlington, The Dallas Express reported.

“I just want to start by saying … the future is so bright in sunny South Dallas,” Adam Bazaldua (District 7) said of the USL Super League team making Dallas its home. “It’s because of the momentum we have here. I also cannot ignore the fact that this deal was something that was brokered by a bunch of strong women,” he said, referring to Dallas’ city manager and the executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission.

Chad West (District 1) said the new team “means … so much to soccer fans but especially little girls like my daughter and all the little girls in Oak Cliff who play soccer,” calling it “so impressive.”

With the two-year agreement with Oak View Group, the council approved $46,371,170.30 in taxpayer spending on Wednesday. Other expenditures included:

  • $34,224,209 for a 10-year service contract with Itineris NA for a citywide integrated customer information and billing software system for the Water Utilities Department.
  • $6,457,288 for a five-year service price agreement with Schneider Electric Building Americas for maintenance and repair of security and access control systems for citywide use.
  • $872,650 in grant funding from the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority to provide a specialized theft program from September 1, 2023, to August 31, 2024.
  • $864,198 for an increase in a construction services contract with BAR Constructors for additional work related to residual handling improvements at the East Side Water Treatment Plant.
  • $862,632 for a professional engineering services contract with Criado & Associates for preliminary engineering, environmental assessment, and final engineering and design services for transportation and pedestrian improvements along Preston Road from West Northwest Highway to Walnut Hill Lane and Douglas Avenue from Colgate Avenue to Northwest Highway, including pedestrian crosswalk and accessibility improvements at the Sherry Lane and Douglas Avenue intersection and the Berkshire Lane and Douglas Avenue intersection.
  • $608,436 for a three-year service price agreement with two one-year renewal options with Morris and McDaniel for the development and administration of public safety promotional written exams for civil service.
  • $429,000 for a construction services contract from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Block Grant with Brown & Root Industrial Services for the Kleberg Recreation Center gym renovation project.
  • $412,280 for an increase in a construction services contract with Douglas Dailey Construction for the emergency replacement of a sanitary sewer pipeline at 10750 Maylee Blvd.
  • $359,110 to purchase equipment and supplies from Farrwest Environmental Supply for Dallas Fire-Rescue.
  • $294,266 for a professional engineering services contract with RS&H to provide a traffic corridor study along Cesar Chavez Boulevard from U.S. 75 to Interstate 30.
  • $248,865 to purchase a bicycle-lane sweeper for the Department of Public Works.
  • $240,000 for a 12-month subrecipient agreement with Law Offices of Craig D. Harvey for legal services to Dallas residential tenants at risk of eviction and homelessness because of financial hardships incurred from COVID-19, for June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025.
  • $150,000 for supplemental agreement with Health Services of North Texas for emergency and tenant-based rental assistance for people with HIV/AIDS.
  • $147,967 for a one-year cooperative service agreement with Lavi Industries for the purchase and installation of crowd-control stanchions, belts, and acrylic walls for the Department of Aviation.
  • $137,032 to acquire a drainage easement and temporary workspace easement from Wycliff Investments for about 1,875 square feet of land on Knight Street near Sylvester Street for the Throckmorton-Reagan drainage improvement project.
  • $63,237 in grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the Click It or Ticket program.

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