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Professional soccer team hosting open tryouts in OKC, could generate millions for city

OKLAHOMA CITY – A new soccer team is ready to kick Oklahoma City into high gear and is looking for some undiscovered talent.

Oklahoma knows American football, but a new type of futbol is in the Sooner State.

The Oklahoma City Energy FC is the new professional sports team in town and Prodigal CEO Bob Funk Jr. says he can already see the impact the team has made on the city.

“We’ve seen a ground swell of local support and grassroots people,” Funk said. “People who are huge supporters, who I never would have thought of, that have just come out of the woodwork.”

The Energy has its first game at Bishop McGuinness High School’s Pribil Stadium this April, but folks are already excited the Energy is coming to town.

“Well, I hope we can make this a community team. This is Oklahoma City’s team,” Jimmy Nielsen, the team’s head coach, said. “We need that support. We want that support because without that, we will not last.”

Nielsen is a former goalkeeper for Sporting Kansas City.

He says he’s seen soccer growing in popularity in the Midwest.

“Oh it’s growing extremely fast in Oklahoma City,” he said. “When I started up there four years ago, I can see something very similar here with the Energy FC. It’s small now but build it up slowly.”

Oklahoma City became affiliated with Sporting KC in December of 2013, a move Funk hopes will take the soccer franchise to its goal of becoming a major league soccer team.

Funk said, “Putting OKC on that level, through soccer on that level, it being such a world sport, will add to what we’re trying to do in Oklahoma.”

And it’s not just about the sport.

The economic impact of having a professional soccer team could mean millions of dollars to the city.

Rob Thomson, Sporting Kansas City’s vice president of communications, says the major league soccer team brings in $40 million to $50 million a year through games, events and concerts.

Energy FC is holding open tryouts in Oklahoma City on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 at Southlakes Soccer Complex.

The cost to register is $125.

For more information, visit the team’s website.