Cleveland: We're in the Game.

This is just the beginning. We're bringing professional men's and women's soccer teams to Cleveland and providing new pathways for athletes across Northeast Ohio.

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Home of the beautiful game.

It's no secret that Cleveland is home to some of the most energetic and loyal sports fans in the world. Soccer is nothing new here. We've been playing it for generations. From cultural clubs and community programs, competitive travel and nationally ranked college teams to majors and USL, Northeast Ohio is steeped in soccer history, talent and love for this game. 

So, it's long overdue that Cleveland should have professional outdoor soccer teams. Our vision has always been to have two teams. We've already secured an MLS NEXT Pro team , and we're bidding to be the 16th National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) expansion team.

This is the beginning of something powerful. Take a minute to learn more about what we're doing to make history in Cleveland, impact our communities and make sure the world knows our name. Let's go, Cleveland!

Learn more about: Vision | Timeline | Ownership | Board | Foundation

THE BID

Next Stop: NWSL in Cleveland

In October 2023, we launched our LoyalCLE campaign: a movement to engage Northeast Ohio around bringing an NWSL team to Cleveland and showing the league we are ready to support a team.

Cleveland Pro Soccer will present our bid in 2024 to be the 16th expansion team in the NWSL. This team would kick-off in 2026.

 

Join us in our vision:

The beautiful game in Cleveland.

Soccer has been played in Northeast Ohio for generations, across neighborhoods, cultures and friends.

Professional soccer belongs here.

We're trained and focused on bringing professional men's and women's soccer teams, the world's best athletes and elite competition here.

Cleveland: we're in the game!

Give our kids a new daydream.

There's something magical about that dream of playing pro in your hometown. 

Cleveland Pro Soccer will build better pathways for soccer players in Northeast Ohio to pursue this dream. We have so much talent in this region, but too often the dream stops in U15 or high school. 

Sure, only a small percentage of athletes make it, period. But being able to dream that BIG motivates us to find our inner best, to work harder and to love the sport more.

We're in it for the players going pro and the dreamers raring to cheer them on.

But in the end, that daydream isn't simply about making teams, scoring goals or blocking them. It's about pursuing and growing into the best version of ourselves.

We think having professional men's and women's soccer teams in town can help inspire exactly that.

Help the world see Cleveland.

Forget Cleveland Against the World.

Sports have this powerful way of helping people see and understand the world outside their own. Even realizing there's this magical place called Cleveland on the North Coast of the U.S.

We want our men's and women's professional soccer teams to connect Cleveland to the World. 

By bringing the world's best athletes to play here and making a name for our place in soccer (on and off the pitch), we want people all over the world to know where Cleveland is and why it's a great place to be.

Make soccer more accessible.

Soccer is the world's sport. But too often it's gatekept, pushed out of reach and made inaccessible — to watch or play — by distance and dollars.

We're going to build a new pathway for soccer players in Northeast Ohio, and provide greater access to the sport through programs, like the mini-pitch initiative and scholarships for our academy. 

Also: by bringing professional men's and women's soccer to Cleveland, we're bringing the ability to watch professional soccer closer to home. 

Having a local pro soccer team to fall in love with is a privilege. And we'd like to afford that privilege to all of Northeast Ohio (and beyond).

Foster diversity in soccer.

Diversity is the essence of what makes soccer the beautiful game. It's the one sport the WHOLE planet shares. Differences in the way we play makes the game that much better and more interesting.

We don't all play it the same way, but we play it together.

Across the globe, soccer is the most diverse sport. But we have work to do in the U.S.

We want to help lead that charge.

We're committed to being intentional in our efforts to build diversity on the field, on the sidelines, in the stands and in the front office.

Win championships.

Championships look good on us.

It's not just about hoisting trophies and throwing parades (remember the parade?). 

Winning championships inspires people to dream bigger, hope more and work to rise up the people around them. Sports are so much bigger than games. And Cleveland is a city of champions.

Let's go!

 

Join us on this journey

Here's what to expect between now and opening day in Cleveland women's professional soccer.
OCT. 2023

NWSL Bid Announced

About a year after announcing our MLS NEXT Pro team, we launched our LoyalCLE campaign to build public support and momentum to bring an NWSL team to Cleveland.

NOV. 2023

Pledge Kits En Route

Packages hit the mail and we started seeing LoyalCLE shirts around Cleveland and all over social media.

DEC. 26, 2023

LoyalCLE Day

We're asking everyone to wear your LoyalCLE shirt, post a photo on social and tell everyone why you support bringing professional women's soccer to Northeast Ohio.

EARLY 2024

Stadium Announcement

We're trying to fill a stadium with these ticket pledges. We look forward to showing you where we'll be cheering on these soccer teams. Stay tuned.

EARLY 2024

Present NWSL Bid

We're going to New York to show the NWSL that Cleveland is ready to support a women's soccer team and should be selected as the 16th team in the league.

2025

Let's go!

If we win the bid and become the 16th NWSL team, we'll be the first women's professional soccer team in Ohio. We'll hire a coaching staff, team and support staff to make this dream a reality in Cleveland.

SPRING 2026

Kick-off

Picture it: opening day for the new NWSL team in Cleveland. Feel the excitement in the air, hear the soccer chants booming from the crowd, know that you were part of making this happen.
(Now, let's go win it!)

 
CLEVELAND PRO SOCCER

Ownership

CSG_Black and White Headshots copy

Michael Murphy

Co-Founder & CEO

Nolan Gallagher

Nolan Gallagher

Co-Founder & President

 

Advisory Board

Mike McLaughlin

Mike McLaughlin

Head Soccer Coach, St. Ignatius High School, 12 State and 8 National Championships

Justin Morrow

Justin Morrow

Cleveland Native, 11-year MLS player and Founder Black Players for Change

Barbara Anthony

Barbara Anthony

Co-Founder & Executive Director of Play Gap

Forrest Eber

Forrest Eber

Managing Partner, Intersection Ventures

Arianna Crisicone

Arianna Crisicone

Director of Women's Football, N3XT SPORTS, Former Player—UCLA, Boston College, Paris Saint-Germain and Italy National Team

Kevin Varela Mendoza

Kevin Varela Mendoza

Executive, 6PM Sports, Former Player—Cruz Azul, LAFC, Tampa Bay Rowdies”

 

The Cleveland Soccer Group Foundation

Dedicated to leaning into the power of soccer and creating positive outcomes for Northeast Ohio, the Cleveland Soccer Group Foundation is a Section 501(c)(3) organization. 

Our communities are central to our vision for what soccer can do in Cleveland. We provide activities and programming that promote health, well-being and unity. Not to mention: access to the world's sport.

You'll see our work through community and corporate collaborations, like installation of mini pitches and other projects that provide public access to soccer.

Cleveland Carli Hearts

Ready To Be A Part of Cleveland History?

New to the sport or lifelong fan, community leader, corporate exec or Cleveland superfan: we want you to be part of this. Learn about opportunities to raise your hand and support Cleveland soccer.

GET INVOLVED