USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort (left), Katie and Ryan Harnetiaux (center) and USL COO and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis (right) in Spokane | Image Credit: USL Spokane
SPOKANE, Wash. - Today the new ownership group for USL Spokane, led by Ryan and Katie Harnetiaux through Aequus Sports, LLC, introduced itself to the community prior to a viewing party at Brick West Brewing for the England-USA women’s international friendly match.
Construction is ongoing as Spokane Public Schools has broken ground on a $31 million downtown stadium project that will host USL League One and W League expansion clubs that plan to join their respective leagues in 2024 upon the venue’s completion. The new investors also announced their intention to bring professional women’s soccer to Spokane, with the three teams combining to play nearly 40 home matches each year.
Located on the banks of the Spokane River, the 5,500-seat stadium will also be home to all five local high schools and will have an estimated annual economic impact of $11.4 million.
Ryan Harnetiaux is an investor and business strategist with 25 years of experience in portfolio and asset management spanning both public and private markets. Born and raised in Spokane, Ryan graduated from Gonzaga University and currently resides in the Seattle area with his wife, Katie. Ryan is a former soccer player and coach and lifelong fan of the game.
“Katie and I grew up in Spokane, we raised our kids in Spokane, and we saw this as an unbelievable opportunity to support the community we love,” Ryan Harnetiaux said. “We believe that the USL aligns with our values and that a soccer club can be a very powerful platform for good.
“A lot of our interest in joining USL Spokane was driven by the chance to help propel women’s soccer forward – that’s an essential part of this, and that’s why we’re committed to fielding a professional women’s team.”
Katie Harnetiaux is a global business leader with significant experience building strong brands. She currently leads North America consumer marketing at Amazon. She is a passionate advocate for women in business, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her proudest role is mom to three amazing humans, who inspire her every day.
“Soccer was the first sport all three of our children played and not only did we love the game, but it also helped us learn how to be good parents,” Katie Harnetiaux said. “Now we have this incredible opportunity to build a club that combines three of our favorite things: giving back to the community, helping young people achieve their dreams, and soccer.”
On hand for the occasion were USL COO and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis and USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort.
“We are delighted to welcome Ryan and Katie Harnetiaux and their partners into the USL family,” Papadakis said. “Every aspect of this club will benefit from having an ownership group with Spokane roots and a wide range of business experience. This is a fabulous day for USL Spokane, and we look forward to many more in the leadup to the club’s inaugural season in 2024.”
“Ryan and Katie Harnetiaux are remarkable,” Vandervort said. “Their commitment to collaboration and community engagement is infectious and makes me proud that they’re investing in the USL and our women’s soccer pathway. The possibilities here in Spokane are limitless and I can’t wait to return here for a match day in 2024.”