Tacoma Defiance

Tacoma Defiance, formerly Seattle Sounders FC 2, is an American professional soccer team based in Tacoma, Washington, U.S. that competes in the USL Championship, the second tier of the national soccer pyramid, as the reserve team of Seattle Sounders FC. The Defiance is operated by The Baseball Club of Tacoma (operator/owner of the Tacoma Rainiers) and managed by Seattle Sounders FC, while 20 percent of the club is fan-owned through the non-profit Sounders Community Trust.

The club was established in 2014 as Seattle Sounders FC 2 (S2) and originally played at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Washington. The team moved to Tacoma's Cheney Stadium in 2018 and was rebranded as the Defiance the following season. The Defiance plans to move into a new soccer-specific stadium near Cheney Stadium in the 2020s.

History

The club was announced on October 14, 2014 at an event held at the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum and began play in 2015 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Sounders assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson was named the team's coach on November 13, 2014.

Inaugural season

S2 played its inaugural match on March 21, 2015, winning 4–2 over the defending USL champion Sacramento Republic. Andy Craven notched the first goal in team history. Their second game yielded the team's first shutout, a home game against Whitecaps FC 2 that ended 4–0. Darwin Jones scored the team's first hat-trick during the game.

Tacoma relocation

The owners of the Tacoma Rainiers baseball team had expressed interest in hosting a lower-division soccer team at its ballpark, Cheney Stadium, or a separate soccer stadium as early as 2013. Cheney Field hosted an MLS Reserve League match between the Sounders and Orlando City SC reserve teams in May 2013, which brought an attendance of 2,174. The Rainiers partnered with the Tacoma Stars, an indoor soccer team, and discussed a potential move for S2 with the Sounders organization.

On May 6, 2017, the Sounders and Rainiers announced that they had agreed to relocate the reserve team to Tacoma upon completion of a new, 5,000-seat soccer-specific stadium by 2020. After the USL announced its intention to refuse waivers for teams with smaller venues that did not meet full Division II requirements, the Sounders announced in November 2017 that S2 would temporarily play at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma beginning in the 2018 season. The team had previously played in front of crowds of less than 1,000 at Starfire Sports, but debuted at Cheney Stadium with a sellout crowd of 6,049 on March 16, 2018. The team failed to qualify for the USL playoffs, but the first season in Tacoma garnered an average attendance of over 3,000.

The club was re-branded as the Tacoma Defiance on January 30, 2019, following a campaign to solicit suggestions from the public for a new name. The Defiance name was the top choice in the poll and references Point Defiance Park and Tacoma's civic pride.MultiCare Health System was named as the team's jersey sponsor and Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League also announced a move to Cheney Stadium for the 2019 season. Sounders FC Academy Director Chris Little had been named as the team's new head coach a week earlier, replacing John Hutchinson.

Tacoma Defiance