June 21, 2021
TAMPA, Fla. and SPOKANE, Wash. - It was announced today that Cindy Wendle will serve as the President of USL to Spokane. Wendle, an Eastern Washington native, will lead the organization and work closely with the United Soccer League, as a League One expansion franchise is finalized in the market, with its inaugural season coming in 2023.
“We are excited to work with Cindy on our continued efforts in Spokane,” said United Soccer League COO and Chief Real Estate Officer, Justin Papadakis. “As we’ve said from the beginning, we believe that Spokane has all the ingredients to be one of the most passionate soccer communities in North America, and these next several months will be critical in laying the groundwork for that. Having someone on the ground with deep ties to the community such as Cindy will be a tremendous asset.”
A graduate of the University of Washington, Wendle most recently contracted with Spokane County on CARES Act grant programs and community initiatives. In addition to work and real estate interests, Wendle serves on the boards of both the Northeast Public Development Authority and Family Promise. She has been an active participant in the community effort to bring professional soccer to Spokane, unifying multiple stakeholders in the project.
“Soccer is an international passion - it bridges cultural, economic and regional boundaries, to enjoy a match day experience like no other sport can offer,” said Wendle. “As a mom to three boys, who all participated in youth soccer, I understand how fast the game is growing and the opportunity we have as a club to better the lives of all youth in our community. I was raised in a college town, where athletic teams and players were a central part of the community. I look forward to helping build that same type of relationship, as well as utilizing our club as a catalyst to boost business for our local economy and our entire region.”
With USL to Spokane, Wendle will lead all facets of the day-to-day operations, laying the necessary foundation and building the initial infrastructure for an expansion club to be officially awarded to the community.
On May 5, the Spokane Public Schools Board voted to approve the construction of a $31 million, 5,000-seat downtown stadium that would serve as the home of a League One expansion club, as well as host events for all five of the public high schools in the city in a centrally located venue. The stadium, which will be developed, managed and operated by the Spokane Public Facilities District, is set to be an economic catalyst for Spokane, generating a projected $11.4 million in economic impact, while also saving the school department $22.5 million over the lifespan of the venue. Wendle will represent the USL during the development and construction of the stadium, which is projected to be ready for the start of the 2023 season.