By Michael Lewis
Professional soccer is coming to Queens.
Queensboro FC, an expansion team in the USL Championship, will begin playing in 2021, the team announced Tuesday morning.
The club will hold home matches in a new stadium at York College in Queens and hopes to host select matches at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team. York’s soccer stadium is under construction. The venue will feature a new artificial turf surface and is expected to be completed in 2020.
Former New York City FC standout and Spanish international David Villa is one of the owners of the team.
“I lived and played in New York for four years. I know what a special place Queens is,” Villa said in a statement. “I love the cultures, the food, the people and their passion for life and, of course, soccer. There is no other place like it in the world. It’s a dream to help build this football club in Queens and I couldn’t choose a better location.”
The ownership and investment group is led by Jonathan Krane, CEO of New York City-based asset management company KraneShares.
“We are excited to bring a USL Championship club to Queens,” Krane said in a statement. “Queens has a large, passionate and knowledgeable community of soccer supporters and players from all over the world and deserves a club to call its own. We look forward to working closely with the community to establish Queensboro FC as not just a leading organization in professional soccer but also as a proud ambassador of Queens. Together we will accomplish great things on and off the pitch.”
Added New York City Council member Francisco Moya: “As a passionate soccer fan who has also played my entire life, I know how this game gives back. Soccer teaches so many great lifelong lessons: the value of teamwork, hard work and perseverance, to name a few. These are qualities that embody the Queens community and having a team of our own is very exciting.”
Video courtesy of QBFC’s Facebook Page
USL CEO Alec Papadakis welcomed QBFC to the league.
“Announcing a USL Championship club in Queens is a big moment for our league,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “When we consider expansion, we’re primarily looking for three things: A community who is passionate about soccer, a strong local ownership group, and a pathway towards a soccer-specific stadium. With QBFC, we have all three, and with Jon and David at the helm, we believe this has the potential to be something very special.”
QBFC will be the second team a professional soccer team will have called Queens home.
In 1980, New York United played its American Soccer League season at Shea Stadium.
In 2011, FC New York played in the USL at Belson Stadium at St. John’s University.
In 1976, the Cosmos played a North American Soccer League playoff game at Shea.
NYCFC has played two matches at Citi Field, a regular season Major League Soccer match in 2017 and most recently an Eastern Conference playoff game last month, losing to eventual MLS Cup finalist Toronto FC.