Tacoma Football Club announces transfer of Tide and Sounders Women to new local ownership group

Tacoma Football Club today announces the transfer of ownership of the Tide and the Seattle Sounders Women to a new local group. Tacoma Tide FC of the Premier Development League (PDL) and the Seattle Sounders Women of the W-League have been purchased by Lane Smith and Cliff McElroy, with former owner/operator Mike Jennings maintaining a minority stake. The United Soccer Leagues (USL) approved the sale of the teams on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

Tacoma's Yellow-clad Tide have new owners. (Paul Murray)

Tacoma Football Club Press Release

“We are coming on board with the goal of growing these two teams and establishing an even greater connection with their communities,” says Lane Smith. “The Tide and the Sounders Women both represent a strong work ethic as well as stepping stones on the path for our local players in their soccer careers.”

McElroy says the new group promises to work hard for and with local soccer supporters. “The Tacoma Football Club looks forward to the opportunity to increase engagement of the Sounders Women and Tacoma Tide into the Puget Sound community. We plan to work hard to bring more fan and youth involvement as well as business ties to these two local teams and expand the Pacific Northwest’s storied Football tradition. ”

Lane Smith is a Tacoma native employed as a sales executive with the Hewlett Packard company as well as a local real estate investor. Lane has been the lease holder of the Tacoma Soccer Center for the past six years and recently transitioned the soccer operations to a non-profit entity. Lane sees a great opportunity for collaboration of the youth and adult players at the Tacoma Soccer Center and the Sounders Women and Tacoma Tide. Lane is a life long recreational soccer player and a executive board member of the Boys & Girls clubs.

Cliff McElroy is the President of Datec Inc, a systems integrator and value added reseller located in the Pacific Northwest. Datec provides data center solutions, LAN, WAN and VPN, application optimization, global availability, data center power, backup recovery, IT Cost Visibility, storage, security, compliance and wireless applications.

Cliff is originally from Kentucky where he attended the University of Kentucky and is an avid college basketball fan, enjoying pick-up games in the local area when he’s not attending his daughters soccer games. Datec is a suite season ticket holder for the MLS Seattle Sounders.
Tacoma Tide FC were established by Mike Jennings and Pat Garlock in 2006. The club has competed in the Premier Development League (PDL) Northwest Division for the past six seasons, finishing first in 2008 and qualifying for the playoffs twice. The Seattle Sounders Women were founded in 2003. They were added under the Tacoma Football Club banner in December of 2008 and are annual playoff contenders.

The Sounders Women have new life after Tacoma Football Club's sale today. (Dale Garvey)

Mike Jennings has owned and operated the Tide since its inception in 2006. “I am excited to have Lane and Cliff make this commitment,” says Jennings. “Lane is a Tacoma guy. He wants to see soccer flourish in South Sound. Cliff has a daughter who plays soccer and he has been a supporter of the Sounders Women.” Jennings will be a resource the majority partners can call upon. “I will be around when the new guys have questions about running the teams. I hope to add local knowledge and offer insights to the teams as they evolve going forward.”

Smith and McElroy invite Tide and Sounders Women fans to post their thoughts and ideas about the 2012 seasons on their respective Facebook pages. Fans can also visit http://www.TacomaFC.com and http://www.SoundersWomen.com to watch for future news and announcements.

“Over the next few months we will be reaching out to our soccer community, our players and supporters, as we plan and build for our 2012 seasons,” says Smith. “We have a few big decisions to make and I am sure there will also be plenty of news about both teams as we kick off this new adventure.”

About the United Soccer Leagues (USL)

Recently celebrating its 25th anniversary, USL has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (Super Y-League/Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (PDL/W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO/MISL). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.

About the Premier Development League (PDL)

The top developmental men’s league in North America, the PDL features 64 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 16 regular season matches for each team, eight home and eight away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.

About the W-League

The first and longest-standing women’s league in North America, the W-League is USL’s highest level of women’s soccer in the United States and Canada. The 2011 W-League campaign featured 27 teams in three regional conferences playing 10-14 regular season matches. In addition to featuring international and professional stars, elite amateur players have the opportunity to compete on amateur teams in the league while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America.


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