New soccer team in Omaha
November 1, 2019
A new soccer team is coming to Omaha in 2020. Union Omaha Soccer Club will play at Werner park in the spring as a part of the United Soccer League. The team was announced in May, and the colors and logo were just revealed recently. Gary Green, owner of the Omaha Storm Chasers minor league baseball team, is the owner of this new team. Jason Mims, former head coach at UNO, will be the first coach of Union Omaha.
The team will play a 28-game season lasting from March to September. The 14 home games will be played at Werner Park, working around the Storm Chasers’ schedule. Most of the tickets will be between $15 and $22.
The ballpark will have to modify the field and add locker rooms to accommodate the new team. The cost of these improvements is estimated at $2.2 million. Sarpy County will initially pay for these modifications, but the team itself will eventually repay through increased rent.
The team logo and crest were announced at a block party in Benson in September. The crest features a black and white great horned owl with glowing yellow eyes. Three stars to the left of the owl are meant to represent Nebraska’s people, place and purpose. Because many Nebraskans have strong associations to colors for other sports teams, black and white were a way to stay original.
Great horned owls are indigenous to the region and commonly seen during winter months when trees have lost their foliage, according to the Nebraska Extension office. The birds have wingspans of nearly 5 feet, can exert almost 25 pounds of pressure with their talons and will prey upon “almost any animal that they can catch.”
The team name, Union Omaha, is both a nod to Union Pacific (the role it played in Omaha’s development) but it is also meant to connect Omaha’s past with its future. The owner decided that unity was important to the team name and Omaha’s culture in general.
USL League One is a division three league, but still higher than the other professional teams Omaha has had in the past. Omaha Flames lasted from 1996 to 1998 and the Omaha Vipers from 2010 to 2011. Both of these teams failed due to low attendance.
Union Omaha hopes to last much longer than these previous teams. There are high expectations for this team not only for the quality of soccer, but also for a community to form around this team and make it feel like home, like Omaha. Union Omaha can use all the support they can get, so attend a few games and enjoy the atmosphere.