Yankee Stadium will continue to be NYCFC’s home for the foreseeable future. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
SEATTLE — Like it or not, Yankee Stadium will be in New York City FC’s future for the foreseeable future.
During his annual state of the league address Friday afternoon, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber did not give any new details about NYCFC moving out of Yankee Stadium and finding a home of its own.
“I have confidence that we will be able to find a solution and NYCFC will be able to find a solution sometime soon,” Garber said.
NYCFC has called Yankee Stadium its home since joining the league in 2015, although in 2013 Ferran Soriano, the CEO of the Manchester City Football Club, City’s owners, said the club would play in a temporary home “for two or three years.”
It has been five years and counting for NYCFC.
This reporter Friday asked Garber whether he had any details of a possible stadium site, how anxious he was about City getting its own soccer-specific stadium and how the team playing at a baseball park will impact the league as it enters its 25th season in 2020.
Garber’s answer was vague and did not offer any new information:
“Well, you know, not everything is linear in life, certainly not in business, and it isn’t in Major League Soccer. With all the success we have issues that we need to deal with in all aspects our business. And in New York City, we’ve been working hard and the ownership group, as you know … has been working hard to try to get a solution where they can get their stadium announced and then ultimately go under construction and have a stadium that will allow NYCFC fans to be able to celebrate the game in a really large market.”
When NYCFC was awarded a franchise, Garber admitted he thought there would have been progress made on a stadium.
There have been several plans and proposals that popped up through the years, many in the Bronx and close to Yankee Stadium, but nothing has come to fruition, at least not yet.
“When we originally sold the expansion team, the thought was we would have made more progress on a soccer stadium,” Garber said. “As lot has happened in New York that has made it more difficult and I have confidence that we will be able to find a solution and NYCFC will be able to find a solution sometime soon.
“I will say that as we go through this, and many of you have been around for a while, there are lots of things that you go through when you’re dealing with a growing league. You got to fight the fight, you have to have patience, you have to have fortitude. You have to have some courage. And you have to be smart and nimble and I think we’ve done that in almost every market. I’m confident we’ll be able to do that in New York City.”
NYCFC was forced out of the stadium in October due to the Yankees’ post-season success. The team wound up playing its Eastern Conference semifinal playoff game at another baseball park, Citi Field, home of the Mets.
Recently, a public planning meeting in the South Bronx focused on the feasibility of a soccer stadium near Yankee Stadium.
Even if a stadium was approved today, it most likely will take at least two-three years before it was built, given the nature of construction delays and other challenges in New York City.