OKLAHOMA CITY —
As it stands, the city's soccer fans look to be in line for a front row seat at a shootout at the OK corral. The USL PRO and NASL are, essentially, on the same level when it comes to soccer hierarchy in the U.S., meaning the two companies could end up competing for the same fans, media attention and commercial revenue.
Certainly there is something to be said about the NASL holding the Division II ranking from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), despite only existing in its current form since 2009. The USL system was founded in 1986, and while the formation of its rival has taken a chunk out of its top leagues -- in the form of a couple of teams, players and clout -- and despite it holding the Division III ranking, the league's longer history in the American game and its contacts with the Division I Major League Soccer (MLS) played an important role in Prodigal's decision.
"We felt like it was the best path for us," Allgood said. "The other part is we feel comfortable with their front office. We started exploring the opportunity about three years ago, and we felt USL PRO was the right choice."
Three years would put Prodigal's timeline for beginning their search for a way into soccer in line with the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, which is widely considered a success for captivating American audiences.
Allgood said that certainly helped, but the main reason for Prodigal's interest came from the overall growth of the sport in the youth ranks.
"The main reason has been the growth of soccer over the years," he said. "My daughter plays in the Oklahoma Premier Leauge, so I've been involved at the youth level. I was surprised with how communities are so involved with youth soccer. As I did the research, I found out there's 30,000 kids in Oklahoma City playing soccer. It's just the right time for us."