EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – The OKC metro area may be thousands of miles away from where the World Cup is being played, but excitement around the sport sparks reminders about OKC’s plans to expand the sport in the metro area, through the allocation of MAPS4 funding for a multipurpose stadium.  

“$30 million for youth soccer facilities specifically North OKC [and] we also have about a $40 million commitment to professional soccer. That [plan] was brought forward by people in our city that want to continue to see our youth soccer movement grow,”  said Mayor David Holt in an interview Friday with KFOR.

“We can’t host a football championship [and] we can’t host a college soccer game [but] there’s a lot of opportunities that we could be pursuing if we had something,” he added.

City leaders first introduced a proposal for a multipurpose outdoor stadium that would be funded by MAPS4 back in 2019.

“This is an opportunity to once again set our city on a global stage,” said Bob Funk, Jr., co-owner of OKC Energy FC, the city’s professional soccer club, in a 2019 interview with KFOR.

At the time, city leaders said the proposal would create a permanent home for a professional soccer team, in addition to a centralized venue for hosting high school football and soccer championships.

“With the professional team coming in, that allowed people to see the passion that a lot of people in this city have for [soccer, and] we’re super excited about some of the stuff that the city is doing,” added area soccer coach Niall Crick.

“Soccer’s growing very fast [and] those facilities attract people from outside, you’re earning those tourist dollars and then for our local community they’re not having to travel to find those facilities and get that level of competition. They can do it right here in their backyard,” added Matt Fansher.

Organizers also said it would also enable Oklahoma City to compete for major outdoor concerts, festivals and sporting events, and Mayor David Holt said Oklahoma City is believed to be the only top 50 city without access to a multipurpose stadium suitable for such events.

“There’s just a lot of different ways that we can continue to be linked to U.S. soccer and to the soccer movement in general and just the global sport that that captures the imagination of so many billions around the world. We obviously want to be a part of that,” said Mayor Holt.

MAPS 4 is a debt-free public improvement program funded by a temporary penny sales tax, and more than 70% of the funding is dedicated to neighborhood and human needs, according to the City.