Sounders FC

Tacoma Stars replace Seattle Impact in top-tier MASL

The Seattle Impact is no more. And the Tacoma Stars have returned to the highest level of North American indoor soccer.

But not in Tacoma.

Stars owner Lane Smith finished the purchase this week and the existing Western Indoor Soccer League club will replace the Seattle Impact in the higher-level Major Arena Soccer League.

The team will inherit the Impact’s 3-10 record and make its MASL debut at 7:30 p.m. Friday at ShoWare Center in Kent. Tickets are available online at Impact tickets already purchased will be honored.

The opponent for that first game will be the San Diego Sockers, who like the Stars trace their roots to the Major Indoor Soccer League, which was formed in 1978.

The Stars will continue through the remainder of what had been the Impact’s schedule. The team has seven MASL games left, including three in Kent (Friday, Jan. 15 and Feb. 8)

“We are proud to welcome Lane Smith and the Tacoma Stars back to the MASL and support his efforts to grow our sport in the Northwest,” MASL commissioner Kevin Milliken said in a press release.

The Stars also will continue in the WISL, where they are 5-0-0.

“We want to do the right thing for the soccer community, and our Tacoma Stars team has been growing with each week so this decision made sense,” Smith said in a press release. “We are very excited to partner with the ShoWare Center and work to build the Stars brand in the years to come. I remember watching the Stars in the past and we are seeing that level of excitement return to our loyal fan base.”

The Stars coach is Darren Sawatzky, and the general manager is John Crouch.

The Impact began this season under owner/player Dion Earl. However, the team was surrounded in controversy almost from the start and became poison at the box office.

Smith purchased the franchise rights from Earl, who could not be reached for comment.

The original Tacoma Stars played from 1983 to 1992 in the Tacoma Dome, once drawing a record crowd of 21,728 for the seventh game of the 1987 championship series won by the Dallas Sidekicks.

In 2014, Smith bought the rights to the name, colors, logo and their distinctive argyle jerseys.