Prodigal Plans Professional Soccer Team in OKC

Article excerpt

Prodigal unveiled plans for a United Soccer League Pro franchise expansion team in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, beginning with a name- the-team contest.

Prodigal LLC, headed by Chief Executive Bob Funk Jr., already runs the Oklahoma City Barons professional hockey team and operates the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. The company also is a promoter of Professional Bull Riders events in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and is a marketing partner with All College and World Cup of Softball.

Funk, chairman of the Greater Oklahoma City Sports Consortium, has been in negotiations for several years with the USL to secure a professional soccer franchise, USL President Tim Holt said. The yet- to-be-named team will formally begin play in the league this spring.

"We look forward to joining the USL Pro family," Funk said in a prepared statement. He was unable to attend the event due to the birth of his daughter. "This is a natural progression for our city to bring in top-flight professional soccer. USL Pro's direct affiliation with Major League Soccer made it the best choice for Oklahoma City."

A permanent host venue for local USL Pro games hasn't been identified yet. Funk said earlier that Prodigal was exploring several options and that a decision would be made well before the next season begins.

This year, a competing sports developer, Brad Lund, head of Sold Out Strategies, announced that he was on the verge of securing a franchise team through the North American Soccer League. …