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Men's pro soccer franchise in Portland set to reveal name, colors and logo

Apr. 24—Gabe Hoffman-Johnson often gets asked one question about the men's professional soccer club in Portland, which plans to make its USL League One debut in 2025.

"Every time someone asks about the pro soccer team the first question is, 'what's your name?' " said Hoffman-Johnson, a founding investor, the club's public face and its first president.

For more than four years the answer was the same. There is no name, and there's no logo, either.

That will all change Saturday when the USL to Portland organization will reveal its name, logo (a crest in soccer circles) and team colors during a fan event at Brick South at Thompson's Point.

USL League One is considered a third-tier league in the United States professional soccer pyramid. Major League Soccer (MLS) is the only first-tier league; USL Championship is the lone second-tier league.

Portland is one of the three expansion franchises scheduled to make their League One debut in 2025. The other two are in Naples, Florida, and Santa Barbara, California.

The event Saturday, which will include concessions and a soccer game on a mini-pitch, will begin at 10 a.m. The big reveal is set for 11.

"We're really excited about it," said Hoffman-Johnson. "We wanted something unique and novel. There are a lot of basic Uniteds and FCs, and I think we needed something a little different."

While not willing to give anything away until the reveal, Hoffman-Johnson said he believes the team name will resonate with Mainers. He was a two-time high school All-American at Falmouth High and team captain at Dartmouth.

Portland was granted a USL League One franchise in September 2023. In November, the club agreed to a 10-year rent-free, non-exclusive lease agreement with Portland to use Fitzpatrick Stadium in exchange for at least $1 million in club-financed capital improvements.

The agreement runs for five years, with the club having two five-year renewal options. Rent would begin to be charged if the club renews for years 11-15.

"This is happening. We're playing next year," said Kevin Schohl, the newly appointed club president of the USL to Portland franchise.

According to the lease, the club is to deliver a "reasonably detailed schedule for the construction of improvements" to city officials by May 1. Construction is to begin by July 1 and be completed prior to the club's first preseason game in 2025.

Hoffman-Johnson said the team is "working hard with the city, taking everything to bid," for renovation work this summer. The improvements to Fitzpatrick Stadium include upgrading the lighting and press box, as well as building locker rooms. The ticketing and concession areas will also be renovated.

Hoffman-Johnson said initial improvement costs will be about $1.5 million.

Schohl added that "new lighting and new seating plans are under way, and we think the work can start going as soon as the spring seasons are done for the high schools."

Fitzpatrick Stadium is scheduled to host high school lacrosse state championship games June 15.

Schohl comes to Portland with diverse sports business experience. He graduated from Boston College in 2006 and Harvard Business School in 2013.

He served as director of business analytics for AMB Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta United FC of MLS.

Schohl was in Atlanta from 2014-18, when Atlanta United debuted.

"I'm really excited about this project and it's also a good fit for my family," Schohl said. "This is something I haven't done before, to fully run the show, and oversee all the ticketing and marketing and sponsorship that goes into a club.

"The other big thing for me, being able to launch a club is not something many people get to do. I had that experience in Atlanta and it was the most fun I've had in my career."