Professional soccer is still taking baby steps in the United States.
But yesterday, the "world game" planted a Bigfoot in Everett - at a press conference introducing the owners of the Everett Bigfoot of the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL).
The Bigfoot, owned by Bill Hurme, a former director of the Seattle Sounders, and his daughter, Vija, will play its home games on the grass football field of the Everett Memorial Stadium complex. Vija Hurme, 25, will be general manager.
The USISL, designated as third division by the U.S. Soccer Federation, was described by its commissioner, Francisco Marcos, as "soccer's minor-league system." The Bigfoot will work with the Sounders on player development, with the hope that some players will move up to the Sounders.
The connection between the two teams does not end there. Everett native Paul Henderson, who played for the Sounders last season, will coach the Bigfoot and may play for it. And Everett's first game will be an exhibition against the Sounders, tentatively scheduled for Everett Memorial on April 8.
The Bigfoot roster will be made up almost exclusively of local players.
The Bigfoot, which will play 12 home games (the overall total has not been determined), belongs to the USISL's Northwest Division, along with the Hawaii Tsunami, Portland Firebirds, Yakima Reds, Salem Surge and Spokane Shadow.
The USISL was founded nine years ago in Texas with four
teams playing indoor soccer. The league has grown to 88 men's teams (58 pro and 30 amateur) and 26 women's amateur teams.
Marcos said Seattle and Portland will field women's teams in 1996.
Vija Hurme said the price of USISL pro franchises run from $50,000 to $400,000.
"I'd say our cost is somewhere in the middle of that range," she said.
She said USISL pays players stipends instead of salaries. Henderson, who works for Boeing, and his players will have to keep their day jobs, she said.
"No one is going to get rich," she said. "We're a developmental league."
Bill Hurme said he expects the team to operate at a small loss its first few seasons.
Because parking is limited at the Everett Memorial Stadium complex, Vija Hurme said the soccer team will not play home games on the same nights as Everett's baseball team, the Aqua Sox.