After a 2019 season that saw the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC join forces with the Colorado Rapids and finish dead last in the USL Championship Western Conference, expectations couldn't be lower heading into 2020. After sacking Steve Trittschuh, the only manager the team has ever known, the club surprised many by hiring former FC Cincinnati skipper Alan Koch. As Koch led Cincy as a USL side, he helped shepherd the team from USL darlings to MLS expansion team, winning the 2018 USL Coach of the Year award in the process.
The biggest news of the offseason was groundbreaking of the new downtown stadium. After years of legal wrangling and false starts, the city, the team ownership, and investors Weidner Apartments finally got the project off the ground and set forward. The new, as yet unnamed stadium, is located at the CityGate property downtown. The stadium site is bordered by Cimarron Street to the north, Moreno Avenue to the south, Sierra Madre Street to the west, and Sahwatch Street to the east. It is the final piece of the mostly state funded City For Champions (C4C) project that included funding for a new U.S. Olympic Museum, a new U.S. Air Force Academy Gateway Visitors Center and the William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center on the campus of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
As part of the private financing, also included is the Robson Arena at Colorado College (home of CC Tiger hockey) as an indoor venue. The Switchbacks’ new home is slated to be constructed as part of a $60 million project, with $20 million of that figure accounting for the stadium. Under the current financing proposal, the funding sources would include $10 million in state RTA bond funding, $10 million from the Switchbacks, and $40 million from Weidner Apartment Homes for the development. The stadium is expected to hold 8,000 for soccer matches, and up to 15,000 for other events. The stadium is expected to open for play in the 2021 season.
Also revealed is the 2021 logo refresh for the team. While keeping true to the original logo, the new version emphasizes the team’s colors of black and blue and streamlines the sight lines. While the logo was revealed during the stadium groundbreaking, the team stated they won't make a complete switchover to the new design until 2021, in concert with play in the new stadium.
On the field, the team over went an almost complete overhaul, with only four players returning. Defender Kris Reeves, who ended last season suffering a catastrophic leg injury in San Antonio, was re-signed, as was Jordan Burt, Rony Argueta, and Austin Dewing.
Burt and Argueta are the only players returning from the original 2015 lineup, and will bring leadership both on the field and in the community. Dewing is a local product, who grew up in Colorado Springs, starring at Air Academy High School, and on the Air Force Academy soccer team.
New to the team are a slew of players from around the world. The current lineup shows as follows:
Goalkeepers: Sean Melvin
Defenders: Kris Reaves, Ever Rubio, Jordan Burt, Joan Cervos, Arturo Diz Pe
Midfielders: Rony Argueta, Mamadi Camara, Hiroki Kurimoto, Aidan Daniels, Andre Lewis, Uvaldo Luna
Forwards: Austin Dewing, Luke Ferreira, George Lebese, Christian Volesky
The Switchbacks and Rapids again continue their partnership, with the MLS side expecting to loan 4-6 players to the Switchbacks. Koch has stated to fans that the loanees will be expected to earn their spots in the gameday 18, and in an effort to build camaraderie, loanees will also be roomed with contract players.
With the new blood and direction of the club, hopes are high in Switchbacks Country. Of course, after the disaster of 2019, there is nowhere to go but up.
The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC begin preseason schedule begins February 5th against Colorado Rapids U19 DA at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and concludes March 5th against Denver University at Weidner Field.
The USL Championship season begins with a road opener against the Oklahoma City Energy on March 7th, and the home opener March 14th against San Antonio at Weidner Field.
For ticketing information, visit SwitchbacksFC.com