Pro soccer team could come to Spokane, depending on where stadium is built

SPOKANE, Wash. — Professional soccer could be coming to Spokane, but there’s a catch – the new stadium voters already decided on in 2018 would need to be built downtown instead of Northwest Spokane.

“If we think that no matter how we vote it will change and they’ll do what they want to do anyway, that just undermines the whole process,” said Mary Alberts who lives in Spokane.

Alberts is just one of many people concerned about building a new stadium downtown.

In 2018, voters decided it would be best to build the stadium at the same location as the old Joe Albi Stadium. That plan could soon change.

“Will this be a breach of faith to the voters of Spokane?,” Alberts said.

Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner said it wouldn’t be.

“The vote two years ago was a really rushed vote where not everybody knew exactly what they were voting on if you look at the data behind that,” said Baumgartner.

That’s why he came up with yet another plan — to move the new stadium to downtown instead of at its original location.

“As a parent and a taxpayer, I’m really interested in great opportunities for students,” said Baumgartner.

He’s not the only one interested. Soon after he wrote up the proposal, he received a call he wasn’t expecting.

“I got a cold call from the United Soccer League that said, ‘We’re really interested in coming to the Spokane market.’,” Baumgartner said.

This means Spokane would have its very own professional soccer team, but it would only happen if the stadium is built downtown.

“That’s why it’s important to have this conversation,” Baumgartner said.

Baumgartner said if approved, the stadium would cost $2 million less to build than the original $31 million set aside for the project.

However, people like Alberts still aren’t convinced.

“Does Spokane need a soccer team? Maybe so. Maybe it needs a new stadium somewhere or maybe we still need to follow through with the Joe Albi Stadium. I don’t know the answers to that, but until they answer some of these questions, I think it’s unfair to sort of push this on us so quickly,” said Alberts.

If the school board decides to go with their original plan, Baumgartner said there’s another pathway they could take that would involve private money.

As of right now, there’s no timeline as to when a final decision would be made.