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Based in Oklahoma City (Okla.), OKC 1889 begins UPSL play in the Central Conference, and will play its games at Norman North High School's 3,000-seat all-purpose stadium (1809 Stubberman Ave., Norman, OK 73069) in compliance with UPSL's Minimum Standards.
United Premier Soccer League Commissioner Yan Skwara said, "Oklahoma City is a historic landmark for both the nation and the UPSL. We've long looked at the OKC market as a diamond, and it's turns out that diamond is purple. We are pleased to welcome OKC 1889 to the United Premier Soccer League. The ownership group is as strong as you'll find in Pro Development soccer, with a vision for the success and a plan for a bright future. We wish OKC 1889 the best as it prepares for the Spring 2018 Season."
Dustin Hooker, 39, is among four co-owners of OKC 1889. A business owner in the logistics and transportation industry, Hooker was a collegiate and PDL player and will serve as the team's General Manager.
OKC 1889 Co-Owner and General Manager Dustin Hooker said, "I'm really all about the youth and developing something for the youth players of Oklahoma City, and for any Pro Development team to work it has to start from the grassroots. You have got to have local guys that are doing it. The best philosophy for us is to have guys who have been playing here locally, and being able to utilize players in this area is the piece I'm excited about. There's a great opportunity for local players to get fan support because it doesn't work for us when you bring in outside guys into a market for two months. The fans can't relate. It's not that they don't like the players or they don't think it is good soccer, but it's difficult if there's nobody on the field that they've ever seen or met. I want soccer fanatics, and fans who know the game and love the players. I'm looking for soccer fanatics and to have players around whom fans can relate to. We have a tightknit community so this is about doing something for the youth and the people here."
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Mark Moore, Mike Nelson and Blake Shumaker also share ownership in the club.
The team is named after the Land Rush of 1889, which was the first land rush into the Unassigned Lands in the State of Oklahoma and more than 50,000 people lined up to take their piece of two million acres.
Shumaker, 37, is Majority Owner and CEO of FC Wichita (NPSL) and currently owns an auto dealership and repair shop in Wichita (Kan.). He serves as Communications Director for OKC 1889.
OKC 1889 Co-Owner Blake Shumaker said, "FC Wichita will play a home-and-home series with OKC 1889 and it'll be bittersweet, but at the end of the day I think it's great. This is big. Oklahoma City is a bigger market than what people think, and that's evident by the NBA's huge success in the market. There's a hotbed of soccer players in the community, and Interstate-35 makes it very accessible to North Texas and better climates, and it's six or seven hours away from St. Louis, Kansas City and Wichita, and these are all big soccer markets. Oklahoma City is positioned very well."
OKC 1889 soon will announce its upcoming game schedule.
About OKC 1889
OKC 1889 is an American Soccer club currently based in Oklahoma City, Okla., and a new member of the United Premier Soccer League. OKC 1889 will begin play in the UPSL Pro Premier.
Founded in 2017, OKC 1889 can participate in the qualifying rounds for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup through their affiliation and membership with the UPSL, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).
Dustin Hooker, Co-Owner
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United Premier Soccer League
The UPSL was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 130 teams in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. UPSL is the fastest growing Pro Development League in the USA, with 140-plus teams targeted for 2018 Spring Season. Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated, and is responsible for maintaining either UPSL Pro Premier Division or Championship Division minimum standards.
UPSL teams are all eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the leagues affiliation with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).
More information about UPSL can be found at www.upslsoccer.com or by following the league on Facebook (www.facebook.com/upslsoccer) and Twitter (@upslsoccer).
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