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The pro women's soccer team, the Western New York Flash, has moved into a vacant storefront on University Avenue. The team's HQ used to be in Erie County.

Soccer team HQ moves into Neighborhood of the Arts 

Sahlen's Stadium has been home turf for the Western New York Flash since 2011, even though the team was based in the Erie County exurb of Elma. But no more: the women's pro soccer team recently moved its headquarters to University Avenue in Rochester's Neighborhood of the Arts.

Soccer is big in Rochester, and women's soccer in particular has a legacy here; Pittsford native Abby Wambach is a product of that enthusiasm and has, in turn, fueled it. And that's why the Sahlen family, which owns the eponymous hot dog and deli meat company as well as the Flash, decided to move the team's headquarters here, says Flash general manager Rich Randall.

"They felt Rochester would be a great place for this," Randall says.

The office's location, which is next door to the Bachelor Forum, was chosen because it's an extremely visible spot, Randall says, that gets a lot of traffic. And it's a tough spot to miss, due to the Flash logos in the windows.

The office handles team business, Randall says, but also serves as a walk-in spot to buy tickets and merchandise. The staff has already made a habit of connecting with and patronizing neighboring businesses, he says.

NOTA neighborhood leaders wanted the storefront to go to a tenant that would be a good fit with the community, and while the Flash isn't what they expected, people are excited about their presence, says Evan Lowenstein, chair of the Neighborhood of the Arts Neighborhood Association.

And having the team's headquarters in the neighborhood presents opportunities to work together on some yet-to-be-envisioned projects, he says.

"It adds to our diversity," Lowenstein says, "and that's a good thing."

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