SOUTH BEND, Ind – The city of South Bend is getting a new pre-professional soccer team.

Officials from the United Soccer League announced The South Bend Lions Football Club will join the USL for the 2020 season that starts in May and runs through August.

The football club is led by owner and principal investor Ritchie Jeune, who also owns a semi-professional team in England.

“We have been grateful for the passionate backing of the soccer community and the dedicated support of the city officials since we arrived in May to begin assessing the way forward,” said Jeune,

Organizers say the team will compete in League Two of the USL, which the league considers a pathway to the professional ranks of soccer.

The Lions will compete in the Great Lakes Division of the Eastern Conference. There are four regional divisions in League Two. 

Other teams in the Lions’ division are from Chicago, Flint, Mich., Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and Charleston, W. Va.

South Bend Lions will become the second USL club in the state of Indiana -- after Indy Eleven joined the USL Championship in 2018.