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Tacoma Stars launch USL2 team, will play at Bellarmine

There will now be five teams in the Puget Sound region.

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There will be a third new Seattle-area USL2 team launching in 2024, the league announced on Thursday. The Tacoma Stars, who will play at Bellarmine Prep, will join West Seattle Junction FC and Bellevue’s Midlakes United, giving the greater Puget region five teams, along with defending national champion Ballard FC and Oly Town FC in Olympia. That presumably gives Northwest Division nine teams, with four clubs in Oregon.

“The expansion of the Tacoma Stars into USL League Two is a firm representation of the investment in the growth of sporting opportunities within the Tacoma area, as well as an opportunity for the Tacoma Stars brand to expand,” Marcus Trufant, former Seattle Seahawks star and Tacoma Stars ambassador, said in a league release. “I’m excited to see my hometown with a League Two franchise, this is really a boost to the local sports scene.”

Although the Stars are a storied indoor brand and their ownership has experience in USL – they operated the PDL’s Sounders U23s from 2012-2019 – this will be their first foray into outdoor soccer under this branding. They had previously planned to field a team in the NPSL that was due to start play in 2020, but those plans were nixed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. That team was planning to play at Washington Premier Field in suburban Tacoma.

Stars owner Lane Smith said one of the key elements to his decision to launch this team was finding a home at Bellarmine.

The Stars are also planning to launch a USL W League team, the USL's semi-pro women's league, according to Smith, who previously operated Sounders Women in a prior incarnation of that league.