Soccer fans buy Lane United Reds season tickets
EUGENE, Ore. - Lane United FC Reds, the local semi-professional soccer team, offered fans 2014 season tickets for the first time at a launch party at a Eugene brewery Friday.
Fans purchased season tickets for the Reds' inaugural season in the Premier Development League at Oakshire Public House, 207 Madison St.
Lane United secured their franchise to participate in the PDL from the United Soccer Leagues on July 18, 2013.
Fans lined up outside Oakshire before the party started. Minors were allowed in Oakshire until 8 p.m.
Lane United Head Coach John Galas sold the first season ticket in team history to an excited fan.
"We have been working on this for a long time," Galas said. "We have sold merchandise along the way as well as raised money for our supporters group, but to actually sell our first season ticket was pretty awesome."
Oakshire, one of the club's main sponsors, hosted the launch party.
"It is a great partnership between us," Galas said. "We certainly support them and are thankful for their sponsorship."
At the launch Oakshire provided food and beer while Lane United sold team merchandise. There was also live music.
"We started our partnership with Lane United right around two months ago when we came on as their jersey sponsor," Pub Manager Daniel Russo said. "Our sponsorship is a three-year deal, so hopefully we can host these launch parties for season tickets every year."
While the launch party was open to the general public, the Red Aces, the Lane United official supporters club, had priority access to tickets during the first hour. After 6 p.m., sales were opened to everyone.
"If someone signs up for our supporter group they get 10 bucks off their season ticket package," Red Aces Board Member John Jarboe said.
The Red Aces have 150 members, though they expect a spike in membership because many fans signed up to join them at the party.
The Red Aces are modeling themselves after other supporter groups in the region, like the Portland Timbers Army. In two friendly matches that the Reds played last summer, the Red Aces came out in full force in the stands: chanting, waving flags and setting off flares.
With the success of their first launch party, Lane United plans to make Oakshire the official venue for all Lane United community events, including soccer watch parties.
The Reds host their first league home match against the Seattle Sounders U-23s Saturday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the Willamalane Center in Springfield, Ore.