Louisville City: Better Know the Front Office, Stadium, Supporters

This is the first of what will be regular weekly posts on Louisville City FC, the USL Pro affiliate of Orlando City and the legacy of what was the Lions’ USL franchise. We hope to bring you all of the pertinent Louisville City news and information as it becomes available. This being the first post, we felt it was a good idea to introduce you to the fledgling club and it’s relationship with Orlando City.

The Principals

Wayne Estopinal – Principal owner of Louisville City FC. Estopinal is the president and founder of TEG Architects and, among his other business interests, is the owner of Mockingbird Valley Sports Complex, which is Louisville’s leading and most visible soccer facility. He has been an investor in a professional soccer team since 2007, including the Austin Aztex franchise that later became Orlando City. An avid soccer fan, he led the push to bring the Orlando City USL franchise to Louisville after MLS awarded Orlando an expansion franchise.

Djorn Buchholz – President of Louisville City FC. Buchholz has been a soccer executive for 13 years, including stops at Sporting Kansas City of MLS as director of fan experience, and Minnesota United FC of the NASL, as president. He more or less is single-handedly responsible for professional soccer’s existence in Minnesota, having run the Minnesota Thunder for four years until 2009, and then taking over the league-owned Minnesota NASL franchise in 2011 and leading it through a rebranding to become as successful a club as there is at its level. He has experience with the Louisville City franchise, having been CEO of the Austin Aztex between stops in Minnesota.

Amanda Duffy – Vice President of Operations. Duffy came to Louisville City FC from the USL W-League, the USL women’s pro-am league, where she served as senior director. Before that, she served as the director of operations for USL Pro.

James O’Connor – Head Coach. You may remember James O’Connor from his time at Orlando City as both a player and a coach. Before coming to the United States, the soft-spoken Irishman spent his career with English clubs Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday. A midfielder in his playing days, we at The Mane Land are excited about his potential as a coach, and expect to bring you more details into his coaching style and plans for the team in the near future.

The Ground

Louisville Slugger Field (which might be the most appropriate corporate branding of a stadium in sports history) is home to the International League’s Louisville Bats, the AAA affiliate of the National League’s Cincinnati Reds. Opening in 2000, the 13,000-seat baseball park will host soccer for the first time in its history during Louisville City FC’s inaugural season. During soccer games, the pitch will run from the third base side of the field to the right field wall and will feature a retractable pitcher’s mound to make the transition from baseball to soccer as seamless as possible. The supporters section will be held on the West or third base end of the pitch.

Louisville Slugger Field's soccer configuration.
Louisville Slugger Field’s soccer configuration.


The Fans

The Louisville Coopers are the supporters group credited with helping to bring professional soccer to Louisville. Their name is in reference to the makers of the barrels in which Bourbon whiskey is stored (Louisville is in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon country, after all). They often post a podcast to their site, and have had guests such as O’Connor and Buchholz on in the past. Recordings of those podcasts can be found on their website, here.

Now that you are a little more familiar with the club itself, here are your LCFC News and Notes for November 14th:

Tryouts!

Louisville City FC will be holding tryouts for potential players on Nov. 22 and 23. The Mane Land will be providing full coverage of the tryouts and will keep you posted on all the standout performers and potential signings on what figures to be a typically cold and rainy fall day in Louisville.

Training Facility Construction

As with any new club, the training facility may well be one of the most important pieces of club infrastructure and construction of LCFC’s new training grounds are underway. The grounds will be located at Thurman Hutchins Park, east of downtown near the Ohio River.

Founding Members Club/Season Ticket Open House

Fans who put down $50 on season tickets and have paid for those tickets by Feb. 1 will become “Founding Members” of founding-memberLouisville City FC. As a Founding Member, fans will see their name engraved on a plaque inside Louisville Slugger Field, receive an exclusive scarf, and get access to special events this season and initial access to events in future seasons. Also, fans who put down their deposits by today, Nov. 14, will be given first pick in choosing seats, which will include an opportunity to go to the stadium during an open house on either Nov. 19 or 20. Seats must be chosen by Nov. 24 in this initial round of seat selection. If you’re interested, click here for more detailed ticket information.

Hangout at Against the Grain Brewery

In addition to the ticket open house, Louisville City will be holding a town hall meeting at Against the Grain Brewery, which is located in Louisville Slugger Field itself, on Thursday, Nov. 20. The town hall, which will be held from 6-8 p.m., will include the coach and some of the front office staff, who will made available for questions. This writer will be in attendance, and The Mane Land will have all the necessary coverage in this column next week.

That’s it for this week’s LCFC news and notes. Be sure to check back each week for all your Louisville City news.

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