Fans with air horns and scarves filled Zappos Theater in downtown Las Vegas this afternoon, as the city was officially granted a professional soccer team.
The United Soccer League made it official, awarding owner Brett Lashbrook an expansion franchise.
Officials also announced a poll to name the team. The six names under consideration are: Las Vegas FC, Las Vegas Lights, Las Vegas Action, Viva Vegas, Club Vegas and Las Vegas Silver.
The poll will run through Aug. 28, and the team name will be announced on Aug. 29. Fans can vote here .
“Finally professional soccer is coming to this city,” USL President Jake Edwards said. “It’s been long overdue. Las Vegas is a global city, and world’s game is on its way here. And it’s going to be here for good.”
On July 19, the Las Vegas City Council approved a lease agreement allowing the team to play at Cashman Field starting in March 2018.
“Building a great and enduring professional soccer team needs three pillars: quality ownership, a city that gets behind it and a quality venue,” said Alec Papadakis, CEO of the United Soccer League.
Gov. Brian Sandoval took the microphone and led the crowd in a “let’s go Vegas” chant.
Sandoval, Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilman Ricki Barlow received commemorative soccer balls signed by USL employees.
“If I fell over and dropped dead now, I would drop dead happy,” Goodman said. “The Cashman complex is so primed because it’s in the heart of the city, where we love to live, work and play.”
Lashbrook asked the USL to let the Las Vegas team play its first game in franchise history, which will be in March, against Reno 1986 FC, to which Edwards replied, “It’s done.”
“Today is the culmination of a lifelong dream,” Lashbrook said. “This is our team collectively that we are going to make into the best professional soccer team that we can.”