Lane United FC hasn’t pieced together its roster, but the soccer club already has high expectations — and not just on the field. The newest member of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League signed a three-year deal with Springfield’s Willamalane Parks and Recreation District as its venue, but the Northwest Division’s latest under-23 competitor plans to go USL-Pro as soon as it has a more permanent pitch to call home.
David Galas, the club’s managing director, says Lane United would love to fill the seats and the win column at a renovated Civic Stadium, but among the many roadblocks standing in the way of this possibility becoming reality is an ownership that doesn’t want to own a stadium. “If someone wants to step up and run a facility we would be an anchor tenant and lease the stadium from them for each season,” Galas says. “My concern is that it’s just going to take a really long time outside our desired timetable for going USL Pro.”
Focusing on the present, tryouts are under way, with more upcoming and a wealth of talent expected to lace up cleats from all over the U.S. and abroad once the season begins in May.
David Galas’ brother John Galas joins Lane United this spring and helps make the team a tantalizing destination for future players. He has been an assistant coach for women’s soccer teams at UO, University of Arizona and Florida State University, while also spending time as a performance analyst for the Portland Timbers and assistant coach for the Portland Thorns FC.
“He has been in very close contact with his coaching network, and so he is getting commitments from college players and from international players,” David Galas says. “We’re getting high-level, out-of-town players who are committing. And we’re trying to supplement that with all the best local talent we can find.”
Soccer’s international cachet as well as its popularity in the Eugene-Springfield area helps fill tryouts and, in time, will help fill the roster. This summer’s World Cup in Brazil will also draw attention to local soccer. “We want to do as much as we can around that in terms of promotion and events and getting our fans together and trying to grow,” Galas says. “Our goal right now is two-fold: one to grow a fanbase and the other is to grow the sport in the area.”
Lane United just signed another three-year deal, this one with Oakshire Brewing. Oakshire will be the Reds’ exclusive match jersey sponsor and Oakshire’s Public House in the Whiteaker will serve as a venue for Lane United’s community events, including the plans for World Cup viewing parties in June and July.