Sounders FC

New investors want to keep Tide, Sounders Women in Tacoma area

New local investors have purchased the Tacoma Tide FC and Seattle Sounders Women soccer clubs.

The sale of the teams to Lane Smith and Cliff McElroy has been approved by the United Soccer Leagues.

Smith said the club is contractually obligated to remain in Pierce County but is considering new venues after splitting last season between Curtis High School and Stadium High School.

“Every intention is to stay in Tacoma … ,” Smith said.

“We need to be able to work collaboratively with a venue that is more accessible centrally to the fan base. … (We’re) looking to give our fans a much better venue.”

The Tide has been a member of the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division for the past six seasons. Sounders Women was founded in 2003 and purchased in 2008 by Tide owner/operator Mike Jennings, who retains a minority share in the clubs.

“I am excited to have Lane and Cliff make this commitment,” Jennings said through a press release. “Lane is a Tacoma guy. He wants to see soccer flourish in South Sound. Cliff has a daughter who plays soccer, and he has been a supporter of the Sounders Women. … I will be around when the new guys have questions about running the teams.”

Smith is a Tacoma native who works as a sales executive at Hewlett Packard. He also is a local real estate investor and has been the lease holder of the Tacoma Soccer Center for the past six years. McElroy is a Kentucky native and president of Northwest infrastructure provider Datec, which is a suite season-ticket holder for Seattle Sounders FC.

“We don’t have the Sounders in Tacoma,” Smith said. “We’re an economically diverse environment. … Not everybody in the South Sound either has the time to get up (to CenturyLink Field) or the money. This kind of fills the gap.”