USL announced Wednesday a multi-year partnership with the global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK with an eye toward housing all 24 of their clubs in soccer-specific stadiums by the end of the decade.
In a release, USL said HOK will guide soccer-specific stadium development for expansion clubs and the renovation of current stadiums to increase capacities and amenities.
“A critical part of our strategic growth plan is to have all USL clubs as owners or primary tenants of soccer-specific stadiums by 2020,” USL president Jake Edwards said in a release. “Not only will these new and upgraded stadiums add value to the league and each club ownership group, they will establish a permanent base for the clubs within their local communities.”
HOK’s current and recent projects include the recently opened Avaya Stadium for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes and a newly designed multipurpose stadium in Atlanta, which will be home to a MLS expansion franchise and the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons.
The announcement marks another aspect of the USL’s growth following the third-tier league’s partnership with MLS in 2013 that requires MLS teams to either affiliate with a USL club or start their own franchise to facilitate player development.
Ahead of the 2015 season, expansion teams in Austin, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Louisville, Montreal, New York, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, Toronto, Tulsa and Vancouver joined the league.