Santa Barbara Sky men’s and women’s teams expected to start playing in 2024
Santa Barbara Sky, a professional soccer club, is being established in Santa Barbara, with men’s and women’s teams expected to start playing in March 2024.
The teams will be based at Santa Barbara City College’s La Playa Stadium and will compete in the United Soccer League’s USA League One.
The founding investor, Montecito resident and lifelong soccer enthusiast Peter Moore, officially announced the club’s formation Tuesday. The launch included a party Tuesday night at the MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Innovation+Exploration, in Santa Barbara.
Mr. Moore, a Liverpool native who was the CEO of the Liverpool Football Club, said he felt now was the time to bring a professional soccer team to Santa Barbara, a community that he feels has enthusiastically embraced soccer (known outside the U.S. as “football”). He noted the wealth of talent in soccer teams at UCSB, SBCC and Westmont College, adding that by his count, 14 of UCSB’s Gauchos went on to become professional soccer athletes.
He said he wants to create a pathway for soccer in Santa Barbara. “I want kids, when they wake up (today) and hear about this, say, ‘I want to play for the Santa Barbara Sky.’
“Soccer has been an incredibly important part of my life since my first-ever game when my dad, and I went to see the Liverpool Football Club in Liverpool, a football city,” said Mr. Moore, founder of the Santa Barbara Sky Football Club and the Santa Barbara Soccer Foundation.
He noted his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all fans of the Liverpool team.
“I’ve had a career where soccer has been part and parcel in my career,” said Mr. Moore, who recalled first coming to Santa Barbara 40 years ago.
“I wandered up State Street and found a phone booth with yellow pages and tracked down Copeland’s Sports. I went up to see (owner) Jim Copeland,” said Mr. Moore, who was selling soccer shoes. “I was just a rookie sales rep.”
Mr. Moore went from being a sales representative to having successful careers in sporting goods, then video games. He worked for the Reebok sporting goods company and served as president of Sega of America.
Mr. Moore and his wife were happy living in Santa Barbara, but they returned to Liverpool when he was recruited to serve as CEO for more than three years of the very successful Liverpool Football Club.
The couple returned to the Santa Barbara area in December 2020, and Mr. Moore is clearly thrilled about his latest venture.
“I’m excited, enthusiastic, optimistic,” he said, “as Liverpoolians tend to be.”