The Ragain Family was awarded a USL Pro franchise on December 5, 2013, with plans to begin play in 2015. The team’s name, the “Switchbacks Football Club”, was announced on January 31, 2014, following a fan naming contest. The team hired MLS and USMNT veteran Steve Trittschuh as the first head coach on March 11, 2014. Luke Vercollone was the first player signed by Colorado Springs in October 2014. The Ragain Family chose Colorado Springs in large part because of the City for Champions vision by city leaders which included a downtown stadium concept that needed a champion of its own.
Steve Trittschuh and Luke Vercollone lead Colorado Springs to two immediate post season appearances in 2015 and 2016. A talented 2017 roster did not qualify for the playoffs followed by increasingly challenging league competitions through 2020 as the newly named USL Championship grew.
In July 2019, the Switchbacks and Trittschuh parted ways naming Assistant Coach Wolde Harris the interim Head Coach. On September 23, Switchbacks announced the selection of Alan Koch as the next Head Coach. Koch’s leadership of the team was cut short by Covid 19 and a restructuring of the 2020 season thereafter returning to Canada. A stabilizing partial affiliation between the Switchbacks and Colorado Rapids for the 2019 through 2021 seasons provided the club with additional technical resources and staff including Brian Crookham that aided the transitioning club.
The Switchbacks next looked to Brendan Burke from the Philadelphia Union as Head Coach to lead the club in its transition downtown beginning a new phase for the franchise. Switchbacks rebranded by simplifying the original logo and colors. Burke quickly went to work restructuring the team making a 2021 playoff appearance in his first season. Player Hadji Barry tied the Championship league record for total goals scored at 25 goals earning the leagues Golden Boot award. 2022 saw the best start in franchise history both on and off the field tying the league record with 5 wins before defeat and finishing the season making it all the way to the Western Conference Final for the best finish in franchise history. Hadji Barry was transferred to Future FC for a league record breaking transfer fee in September. Michee Ngalina was named USL Championship Young Player of the Year.
Weidner Field History
Weidner Field is a $50M soccer-specific stadium located in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States. Having opened on April 24, 2021, it is home to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC who compete in the second level of U.S. men’s professional soccer, the USL Championship (USLC). The playing area is 360′ long by 225′ wide. While designed for soccer with a seating capacity of 8,000, the stadium is capable of hosting other types of events reaching a capacity as high as 15,000. Sitting at an altitude of roughly 6,035 feet (1,839 m) above sea level, the facility has the highest elevation of any stadium used by a professional team in the American soccer pyramid. It replaces the former Weidner Field, now known as Martin ‘Ed’ Ragain Field, a smaller soccer stadium on the east side of the city.
The stadium was part of a collection of projects led by the City of Colorado Springs known as City for Champions including the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum, Ed Robson Arena, William J Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center, and Air Force Academy Visitor Center. Weidner Field was designed to energize the downtown area, spur adjacent real estate investment, increase tourism, and bring a sprawling community together. Plans for the new stadium were officially unveiled in July 2018. Design details were revealed in July 2019, and the ceremonial groundbreaking took place that December.
Naming rights are held by Weidner Apartment Homes, an owner in the Club and sponsored the naming rights for the former stadium. The “Weidner Field” name was officially transferred from the old stadium to the new venue on October 15, 2020.