OKC Energy FC announced today that respected local businessman Tim
McLaughlin has joined the management team as an equal partner with Bob
Left: Prodigal owner Bob Funk Jr.; Right: Oklahoma City businessman Tim McLaughlin (Photo: Business Wire)
The partnership represents a major step towards uniting the Oklahoma
City soccer community and strengthens Prodigal's commitment to bring top
level professional soccer to Oklahoma City including a potential Major
League Soccer team in the years ahead.
"We're pleased to have Tim join OKC Energy FC as an equal partner," said
Prodigal owner Bob Funk Jr. "His passion for the continued success of
Oklahoma City and its citizens is unmatched. By uniting our efforts, it
brings us another step closer to our shared vision of bringing a Major
League Soccer (MLS) team to Oklahoma City in the future."
McLaughlin's dedication to Oklahoma City, particularly the students of
the Oklahoma City Public Schools, is underscored through the success of
the Fields & Futures program founded by him and his wife Liz in early
2012. The program provides much needed funds to build and maintain
athletic fields throughout the Oklahoma City Public Schools district.
The program contributes to the positive development and retention of
coaches as well as inspires student-athletes. Overhauling 44 athletic
fields within the Oklahoma City Public Schools district and establishing
an endowment for upkeep is the long term goal of the organization.
"I'm looking forward with great enthusiasm to working with Bob Funk Jr.
and OKC Energy FC to unite the soccer community in Oklahoma City," sid
McLaughlin. "The professionalism of Bob Jr. and his staff along with the
strength of the league and their partnership with MLS and Sporting KC
attracted me to partner with them. I am excited about what we can do
together for soccer and Oklahoma City."
Beginning in early April 2014, OKC Energy FC begins practicing on the
campus of Oklahoma City University. OKC Energy FC will compete during
the 2014 season at Pribil Stadium on the campus of Bishop McGuinness
Catholic High School. The following Spring, OKC Energy FC will begin
playing at the re-modeled and historic Taft Stadium, currently
undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. As part of the lease with
Taft Stadium, $2 of every soccer ticket sold will benefit Fields &
"We greatly appreciate the very generous donation from Tim McLaughlin as
part of the Fields & Futures program for rebuilding the vintage Taft
Stadium into a modern facility for Oklahoma City Public Schools events
and pro soccer," said interim OKC Public Schools Superintendent Dave
Lopez. "The joint efforts of Bob Funk Jr. and Mr. McLaughlin to bring
professional soccer to our community also deserve applause."
"Soccer's popularity continues to soar, not only nationally but also in
our community," said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. "This is a great
time to bring professional soccer to Oklahoma City and lay the
foundation for a possible Major League Soccer team in a few years.
Oklahoma City has always been at its best with people pulling on the
same rope. We appreciate the shared vision of Bob Jr. and Tim to
introduce professional soccer to our community and commend them for
working together to make it happen."
OKC Energy FC's move to Taft allows for Prodigal to operate a franchise
in USL's Premier Development League (PDL). The PDL is the top amateur
league in the United States and a professional development league for
the United Soccer League. The league consists of 64 teams, playing in
four conferences and nine regional divisions. The PDL season runs from
May through July. The yet-to-be-named team will play its home games at
Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.
OKC Energy FC is led by former Sporting Kansas City goaltender and 2013
MLS Cup champion, Jimmy Nielsen. Nielsen was a two-time MLS All Star,
the 2012 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and goalkeeper for the 2012 Lamar
Hunt U.S. Open championship club.
USL PRO is the strongest, best operated and most experienced North
American men's professional soccer league outside of Major League Soccer
(MLS). Focused on franchise stability and longevity, USL PRO features 15
teams for the 2014 season, including expansion teams in Oklahoma City
and Sacramento. Presently 10 USL PRO teams have direct affiliations with
Major League Soccer clubs.
The league not only serves as a springboard to the MLS for players, but
also for franchises. Five of the last six clubs to enter MLS have moved
up from the USL's top professional division. Among the most successful
clubs, the Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers,
Montreal Impact and Orlando City SC all operated franchises in the USL's
top professional division before making the transition to MLS.
OKC Energy FC plays its first home game April 26 at Bishop McGuinness
Catholic High School. Season tickets are available by calling (405)
235-KICK or visiting EnergyFC.com.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140326006553/en/
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