Louisville City FC
|Full name||Louisville City Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||LouCity, The Boys in Purple, Los Morados|
|Founded||June 4, 2014|
|Stadium||Lynn Family Stadium|
|Owner||Soccer Holdings, LLC|
|Head Coach||Danny Cruz (interim)|
|2020||1st, Eastern Conference|
Louisville City Football Club is an American professional soccer club based in Louisville, Kentucky. The team plays in the USL Championship, known through the 2018 season as the United Soccer League (USL), which is currently the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.
The club was founded in 2014 after Orlando City's USL team franchise rights were relocated to Louisville and played their first USL season in 2015. After reaching the Eastern Conference finals of the USL playoffs in both its first two seasons, the club went on to win the 2017 USL Cup in only its third season of existence. In 2018, they repeated as champions, becoming the first team to win back-to-back USL Cup championships.
In early 2014, the owners of Orlando City's USL team, encouraged by minority owner Wayne Estopinal, met with city of Louisville officials to explore moving the team that would be displaced by Orlando's new MLS franchise. Estopinal became the majority owner and the club formally announced their relocation to Louisville in June 2014. Orlando City SC held a minority ownership stake in Louisville City FC during the latter's inaugural campaign in 2015, and Louisville City featured as the Lion's USL affiliate team.
In the summer of 2018, James O'Connor stepped back as manager in order to take the head coaching position at MLS club Orlando City SC. James O'Connor left the team with a 71–28–26 record and a USL Cup win from the previous season, along with the first ever franchise win over an MLS team against the New England Revolution in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup Tournament. The team was then coached under the triumvirate of three players, George Davis IV, Paolo DelPiccolo, and Luke Spencer. On August 2, 2018, John Hackworth was appointed as the team's second-ever head coach. On November 8, the team made USL history by becoming the first team to repeat as champions of the league. The team defeated Phoenix Rising FC 1–0.
On November 30, 2018, minority owner and key founder, Wayne Estopinal, died in a plane crash on the way from the Louisville area to Chicago.
The following season, Louisville City made it to their third consecutive USL championship game but failed to complete the first ever "threepeat", falling 3–1 against Real Monarchs SLC, the USL affiliate of the MLS' Real Salt Lake.
On January 13, 2020, it was announced that James O'Connor would be returning to the organization after being fired from Orlando City SC in October 2019. This time he will serve as executive vice president of development where he will oversee the establishment of the team's youth soccer academy. O'Connor will also help with hiring staff for the new National Women's Soccer League team planned to begin play in Louisville in 2021.
Louisville Slugger Field (2015–2019)
From the club's inaugural 2015 season through 2019, home games were played at Louisville Slugger Field. It is a multi-use facility that serves as the primary home of the Louisville Bats, Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Though Slugger Field officially seats 13,131 for baseball games, an attendance of 8,000 was considered a soccer sellout due to limited viewing in the stadium's current baseball diamond configuration. The pitcher's mound at Slugger Field was retrofitted with a retractable jack to allow a level playing surface for soccer games prior to the start of the inaugural season.
Lynn Family Stadium
In April 2017, the ownership group announced that it had an option to purchase five adjacent parcels of land, totaling 40 acres (16 ha), in the Butchertown neighborhood just to the east of Slugger Field for a mixed-use project that would include a 10,000-seat soccer stadium. The plan initially called for the stadium to be expandable to 20,000 seats, and the overall complex would also include offices, retail space, and a hotel.
On September 22, 2017, Louisville Metro mayor Greg Fischer announced a stadium deal that calls for the merged city–county government to borrow $30 million in order to purchase the land, with Louisville City investors responsible for developing the site and repaying about half of the borrowed funds. While the initial capacity of the stadium did not change, the revised plan allowed for possible expansion to 25,000, and it was also revealed that the overall plan could include a second hotel.
On October 26, 2017, Louisville Metro Council voted overwhelmingly to approve the stadium deal shortly after the ownership group secured $130 million in private financing for the overall project; the council voted at the same time to apply to the Kentucky General Assembly for a tax-increment financing district for the project. The stadium is currently projected to open in March 2020, satisfying a USL mandate that all franchises play in soccer-specific stadiums by the 2020 season.
Groundbreaking for the stadium was held on June 28, 2018, with an initial capacity of around 14,000 fans with permanent seating for 11,700. On August 5, 2019, the club announced that the stadium would be known as Lynn Family Stadium. The stadium bears the name of Dr. Mark Lynn, an optometrist who owns the Louisville-area franchise of the national optical retailer Visionworks. Louisville City's stadium is the second soccer venue in the city to bear the Lynn name; he and his wife Cindy are the namesakes of the University of Louisville's soccer stadium.
In 2013, a group of soccer fans in Louisville formed a supporters group, The Coopers, to build support for professional soccer in Louisville. The Coopers take their name from Louisville's bourbon distilling tradition, where coopers make barrels that are used to age bourbon and give it a distinct flavor.
In January 2014, a potential local ownership group invited the owners of Orlando City Soccer Club to Louisville to meet with The Coopers. After the meeting, Orlando City owner Phil Rawlins noted that The Coopers were already a "great supporters group" and predicted that a professional team would be successful in Louisville.
Louisville City FC played and won its first professional match 2–0 against Saint Louis FC on opening day of the 2015 USL season. Since then the two sides have fostered a friendly rivalry for the Kings' Cup.
Dirty River Derby
The annual rivalry with FC Cincinnati for the Dirty River Derby, also known as "River Cities Cup", is one of the most hotly contested matches in lower division US soccer. The two cities are located a mere 100 miles apart from each other along the Ohio River. Due to this proximity, the matches tend to draw well and often featured aggressive play for local bragging rights. The Dirty River Derby, as far as being a divisional rivalry, ended following the 2018 season with FC Cincinnati's move to MLS.
Louisville City FC first played against another regional club, the Indy Eleven, during the 2015 U.S. Open Cup, in which Louisville City won, 2–0. The two clubs would meet again in a series of friendlies the following two seasons, as well as the 2016 U.S. Open Cup, where Indy would defeat Louisville by a score of 2–1. The arrival of the Eleven to the United Soccer League in 2018 resulted in the two becoming divisional rivals, and was given the unusual title of "Louisville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest", or "LIPAFC" during the season by both clubs on social media.
Colors and badge
The team maintained the original colors of the Orlando City franchise; purple, gold and white. The first proposed team crest featured a golden Fleur-de-lis atop of a purple bourbon barrel. However, due to fan outcry this design was abandoned and a design contest was held to select a new crest. The winning design consists of a purple Fleur-de-lis recessed into a golden bourbon barrel at the bottom with a partial skyline of the City of Louisville at the top. The partial skyline includes Preston Pointe, Aegon Center, PNC Tower, and the Humana Building.
On December 16, 2019, Louisville City unveiled a new badge, using the "LouCity" name and "combining elements from the traditional city of Louisville flag with LouCity’s Signature Purple. The new crest will incorporate Oak Char Black and Kentucky Limestone Grey into the official colors of the club." However, it lasted just three days until another outcry caused "LouCity" to abandon their brand-new badge on December 19, 2019. In a statement, club president Brad Estes said, "(O)ur recent brand rollout has failed you. We had the best intentions, but we lost sight of our responsibility to engage you in the process. We have stopped production on merchandise with the new crest and have opened dialogue with supporter group leadership about how to improve our club’s branding and crest.”
|Seasons||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
On March 9, 2020, the team announced the development of their youth academy, which is the first professional academy of its kind in Louisville and the state of Kentucky. The academy will feature two teams, one for boys and one for girls, starting at age 8 and continuing for ages under 19. The goal is to provide opportunities for players to be seen by professional teams along with collegiate ones.
On March 25, 2020, the team announced that the youth academy will become a member of the Elite Club National League. Louisville City is the first team involved with the ECNL in Kentucky. The teams of every age (8 to under 19) will compete with other ECNL members to qualify for the playoffs in the league.
The Youth Academy will play at the Champion's Park. This complex was approved for a $12 million dollar renovation on March 5, 2020, and is funded by Louisville City FC. The complex will include three seasonal grass fields and four turf fields available for year-round use. The complex will serve as a home for youth soccer in the city and will also be where the upcoming NWSL team will practice. The site is planned to be ready for play by Spring of 2021.
Players and staff
- As of September 11, 2021
- USL Academy Contract
Out on loan
|16||GK||Simon Lefebvre (at Colorado Springs Switchbacks)||France|
|30||MF||Jay Tee Kamara (at North Carolina FC)||Sierra Leone|
- John Neace – Chairman
- Brad Estes – President
- James O'Connor – Executive Vice President of Development
- Davena Vowels – VP of Operations
- Patrick Stewart – Chief Revenue Officer
- Pat Denbow – Director of Partnership Strategy
- Mitch Ried – VP of Sales & Marketing
- Brad Gordon – Director of Partnership Development
- Dylan Terry – Manager, Partnership Development
- Jonathan Lintner – Director, Public Relations & Communications
- David Walkovic – Director, Ticket Sales
- Rusty Fazio – Director, Information Technology
- Ben Hulsman – ‘’Equipment Manager
- Danny Cruz – Interim Head Coach & Technical Director
- Simon Bird – Assistant Coach
- Mario Sanchez – Assistant Coach
- Scott Budnick – Goalkeeping Coach
All information in this section as of September 4, 2021
This is a partial list of the last six seasons completed by the club. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Louisville City FC seasons.
|Season||League||Position||Playoffs||USOC||Continental||Average attendance||Top goalscorer(s)|
^ 1. Avg. Attendance include statistics from league matches only.
^ 2. Top Goalscorer(s) includes all goals scored in league, league playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and other competitive continental matches.
|James O'Connor||Ireland||June 4, 2014||June 30, 2018||125||69||25||31||55.20|
|Player Coaches‡||United States||July 1, 2018||August 12, 2018||7||4||2||1||57.14|
|John Hackworth||United States||August 13, 2018||April 27, 2021||78||48||16||14||61.54|
|Danny Cruz (interim)||United States||April 27, 2021||Present||20||11||5||4||55.00|
^ Includes USL regular season, USL Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup. Excludes friendlies.
‡ Luke Spencer, Paolo DelPiccolo, & George Davis IV appointed joint interim head coaches. Commonly known as "The Triumvirate".
|Season||Regular Season||Playoffs||Total Average|
Player career records
- As of September 4, 2021
|3||George Davis IV||2016–||121||14||12||147|
- As of September 4, 2021
|1||Cameron Lancaster||2015–18, 20-||57||4||4||65|
|2||Magnus Rasmussen||2015–16, 18–19||25||4||0||29|
|4||George Davis IV||2016–||23||1||1||25|
- As of September 4, 2021
- USL Eastern Conference
- Kings Cup
- Champions (6): 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- Dirty River Derby
- Champions (2): 2017, 2018
- Most Valuable Player
- Defender of the Year
- Goalkeeper of the Year
- Golden Boot
- Assists Champion
- USL Cup Final MVP
- USL All-League 1st Team
- "Orlando City's USL Pro Franchise to move to Louisville in 2015; will become team's USL affiliate". mlssoccer.com. June 4, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
- "Orlando City Sc Exploratory Meetings with Louisville, KY". Orlando City SC. January 14, 2014.
- Lintner, Jonathan (June 3, 2014). "Louisville pro soccer club to be unveiled Wednesday". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Tenorio, Paul (June 30, 2015). "Orlando City to own, operate USL franchise in 2016". Orlando Sentinel.
- Daniel, Jones (July 26, 2019). "James O'Connor Orlando City". Orlando City SC.
- LouCity (June 29, 2018). "BREAKING: Louisville City Football Club agrees deal in principle with Orlando City SC". LouCity. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- LouCity (August 2, 2018). "Louisville City FC Appoints John Hackworth as Head Coach". LouCity. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- "Louisville City FC wins second-straight USL Cup, beats Phoenix Rising FC". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- Goudie, Chuck; Nagy, Liz; Markoff, Barb; Tressel, Christine; Weidner, Ross (December 1, 2018). "Indiana plane crash: 3 dead, 1 ID'd; Cessna Citation bound for Midway Airport". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- Grise, Natalie (November 18, 2019). "LouCity loses bid for third straight championship with 3–1 loss in USL Finals". WLKY. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- Sullivan, Tim. "Former Louisville City FC coach returning in new role". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- "CRUZ ASSUMES INTERIM HEAD COACHING POSITION WITH LOUCITY". LouCity.com. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
- Lintner, Jonathan (March 27, 2015). "Supporters ready for first Louisville City game". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
- Lintner, Jonathan (February 26, 2015). "Retractable mound saves Louisville City FC". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
- Green, Marcus (April 11, 2017). "Louisville City FC seeks to build new stadium in Butchertown". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- Otis, Chris (September 22, 2017). "City to put $30 million into Butchertown soccer stadium for Louisville City FC". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Lerner, Danielle (October 26, 2017). "Louisville City FC gets money to build its soccer stadium in Butchertown". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, KY. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
- Bard, Jessica (June 28, 2018). "Soccer fans, officials help Louisville City FC break ground on new stadium". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
- "Louisville City Releases a Bold Vision for its 2020 Stadium". Louisville City FC. March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- Bard, Jessica (August 5, 2019). "Officials announce name of Louisville City FC's new soccer stadium". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
- Main, Dalton (January 8, 2014). "Louisville could soon host pro soccer team". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- "About The Coopers". Retrieved February 13, 2015.
- Main, Dalton (January 14, 2014). "Louisville soccer fans rally around possible pro team". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- Vit, Armin (June 24, 2014). "A Sinking Barrel". UnderConsideration. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Lintner, Jonathan (June 22, 2014). "Louisville City FC unveils 'abstract' new logo". Louisville, KY: Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- LouCity christens new era with a new crest
- A statement from LouCity President Brad Estes
- "Louisville City FC adds youth soccer academy". WDRB. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- Ward, Kelly. "Louisville City FC Academy team joins Elite Club National League". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- Jackson, Kyeland (March 9, 2020). "Soccer Training Facility Predicted To Boost Louisville's Soccer Profile". 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- "Metro Council unanimously approves plan to build soccer complex at Champions Park". WDRB. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
- "Louisville City FC Roster 2021". loucity.com. Louisville City FC. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
- Finley, Marty (June 29, 2018). "Louisville City FC head coach leaving for MLS job". www.bizjournals.com. Louisville, KY: Louisville Business First. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
Louisville City FC players George Davis IV, Paolo DelPiccolo and Luke Spencer have been named joint interim head coaches, and the club said O'Connor will coach Louisville City FC in its match against the New York Red Bulls II on Saturday night at Louisville Slugger Field.
- "2015 USL Awards Winners". www.uslsoccer.com. USL. October 30, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- Saxon, Jonathan (November 4, 2020). "2020 USL Championship's Goalkeeper of the Year". www.courier-journal.com. Louisville, KY: Louisville Courier Journal. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
Some league-level hardware is on its way to Louisville City FC as Ben Lundt was named the USL Championship’s Goalkeeper of the Year
- "Updated leaders and statistics for the 2015 USL season". www.mlssoccer.com. MLS. September 14, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- "Record-Setters Lancaster, Ledesma Earn USL Golden Boot, Assists Champion". www.uslsoccer.com. Tampa, FL: USL. October 15, 2018. Archived from the original on October 15, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
- Murray, Nicholas (November 14, 2017). "Louisville's Late Winner Claims USL Cup Victory". www.uslsoccer.com. USL. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- Arlia, John (November 8, 2018). "Spencer's Strike Leads Louisville to Second Straight USL Cup". www.uslsoccer.com. Louisville, KY: USL. Archived from the original on November 9, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
- "USL All-League Teams Announced". www.uslsoccer.com. USL. October 26, 2015. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- "2017 USL All-League Teams Unveiled". www.uslsoccer.com. USL. November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- "2018 USL All-League Teams Revealed". www.uslsoccer.com. Tampa, FL: USL. November 5, 2018. Archived from the original on November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- Yates, Dominique (October 28, 2020). "A record four Louisville City FC players earn All-League First Team honors". www.courier-journal.com. Louisville, KY: Louisville Courier Journal. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
Forward Cameron Lancaster, midfielder Devon “Speedy” Williams, defender Sean Totsch and goalkeeper Ben Lundt were named among the league’s best 11 players as voted on by club management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market