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The sport of soccer has always had an interesting history in the city of Louisville. Having real ebbs and flows of popularity through the years, the Derby City has, like the rest of the country, found a recent passion for the game.

In fact the city has had its share of professional and semi-professional clubs dating back to 1984 when the Louisville Thunder called Broadbent Arena home. The Thunder played in the American Indoor Soccer Association for a few years, during which time they produced several league all-stars.

However, in 1987 the team disbanded due to those ebbs and flows. It wasn’t too long though, that the city went without its own soccer team that is until 1994 when the Louisville Thoroughbreds became a part of the USISL, truthfully the Thoroughbreds had an unremarkable history lasting only a season before calling it quits.

For over a decade after that a Soccer team didn’t play in town.

Recently in 2009 the Louisville Lightning began their division play in the Professional Arena Soccer League, in fact we are in the midst of the only time in Louisville sports history when two professional/semi-professional soccer teams represented the city, as the River City Rovers began in 2010, as an expansion team in the USL Premier Development league.

What’s interesting about soccer in the city is that in many regards it has paralleled the general feelings toward the sport nationally, for years there has been a strong but relatively small contingency of fans. It’s these fans that have attempted to bring the sport to the states for years.

However, it hasn’t been until recently that the game has really carved a name for itself in the American market. It’s difficult to say the future of the Lightning and Rovers however one would have to say that the sport of soccer is gaining momentum in the city of Louisville.

Image courtesy of Arthur's Clip Art

Outside Sources

Sports in Louisville

Louisville Thunder

Professional Arena Soccer League

River City Rovers

USL Premier Development League

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Dave Rose's picture

About Dave Rose

Recently, I completed a Masters degree in Education and have been writing for Louisville.com for over a year now, prior to that I published a humor book for young adults titled Wearing Socks with Sandals, a book about getting through high school, college, and all of the requisite problems that present themselves during that time. Currently, I spend much of my time in classroom settings as well as writing in various areas. Of course, I’m a big sports fan and love music and film, and love finding new stuff around Louisville.

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