OKC FC inks stadium deal with Yukon High School

Miller Stadium artist rendering. (Provided)

Miller Stadium artist rendering. (Provided)

The Oklahoma City Football Club recently signed a three-year lease to play North American Soccer League (NASL) games at Yukon High School’s Miller Stadium, beginning in 2016. The club, led by local businessmen Sean Jones, Brad Lund and DeBray Ayala, and the Yukon Board of Education approved the deal with options for three two-year extensions on Nov.3.

Oklahoma City FC originally hoped to join the NASL next year, but in order to build a first-class franchise, the decision was made to delay until 2016. OKC FC will have spent $5 million by the time the new team begins play, Lund said.

Team officials looked at several possible sites before choosing Yukon because of its amenities, its close location to Interstate 40 and the Kilpatrick Turnpike and the economic buzz surrounding the west Oklahoma City metro and Canadian County.

The $17 million Miller Stadium, opened in 2011, has fixed seating for 6,500 spectators but could expand to 10,000 seats. The stadium features private suites, a split-level press box for working media, a large video scoreboard, a 24,000-square-foot wellness center and on-site parking for 2,500 vehicles.

“It’s one of the premier high school venues in the state,” Lund said.

The lease will net Yukon Public Schools an estimated $200,000 per year. Yukon Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said that hosting a pro team will raise the profile of the school district and city.

“We’re thrilled,” Simeroth said. “It’s a huge publicity opportunity.”

OKC FC plans to eventually build its own soccer-specific stadium. However, Lund said the ownership is not currently considering using the NASL as a springboard for a possible MLS franchise.

After presenting their business plan at the NASL’s Board of Governors meeting on Nov. 15, team officials soon plan to announce the new team name and colors, pending formal approval by the league.

The moves by the OKC FC will effectively double the number of pro soccer teams, along with the Oklahoma City Energy FC, in Oklahoma City, which Lund admits is “not ideal.”

“I’m sure they would say the same thing. We believe this city has reached the point where it deserves the highest level of sport possible,” Lund said.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 14, the Energy FC announced a three-year contract extension for head coach Jimmy Nielsen. The squad is set to move Oklahoma City Public School’s Taft Stadium next year.

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