It’s been 12 years since professional outdoor soccer teams played for a home Milwaukee crowd (the Milwaukee Wave United last played in 2004 and Rampage in 2002). For a metro area the size of Milwaukee, with such impressive club, high school, and college programs, that’s a criminal length of time to be lacking a such a sporting draw. Heck, we’ve had two different indoor football teams since then.

That all changes today: at 8PM tonight at Engelmann Stadium on UW-Milwaukee’s campus, the Milwaukee Torrent pro soccer team plays their debut game against the Panthers. It’s their first of five exhibition games against local university and club sides before opening up league play against the Minnesota TwinStars on the road.

Uihlein Soccer Park, home field for the Milwaukee Torrent soccer team. Photo by Joe Powell.

Uihlein Soccer Park, home field for the Milwaukee Torrent soccer team. Photo by Joe Powell. Featured article image taken from Milwaukee Torrent’s Facebook page.

The Torrent play in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), considered the 4th tier of American outdoor professional soccer. That being said, it’s the first step on the way to the top-level Major League Soccer (MLS), and all players are officially registered with US Soccer.

Perhaps most importantly, being a member of the NPSL still qualifies the Torrent for the U.S. Open Cup (if they win) through USASA channels. For those of you not familiar, think of the U.S. Open Cup as an open invitational for any level soccer team, amateur to MLS, to play each other in the same tournament.

The Milwaukee Torrent soccer team's home jersey. Image taken from Admiral Sports USA.

The Milwaukee Torrent soccer team’s home jersey. Image taken from Admiral Sports USA.

The Torrent’s first home game at Uihlein Soccer Park isn’t until June, but you can already get their home and away kits to wear to the other local and travel matches.

As both a local rec soccer player and a Milwaukee sports fan, I see this team as nothing but a positive for the community. The players are all paid, the team is in a legitimate league, they play at a professional-quality facility, and their jerseys look sweet. In other words, you’ll see me in the stands waiving my blue and silver scarf this summer.

15-year-old soccer Joe approves. Photo by the venerable Kathy Scheibe-Powell. Hi mom!

15-year-old soccer Joe approves. Photo by the venerable Kathy Scheibe-Powell. Hi mom!