SeatGeek Stadium (pictured when it was called Toyota Park) will be the new home of the Chicago NISA team.
CHICAGO – The new Chicago NISA professional soccer club Wednesday announced that it will play its home games at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill. beginning late this summer when the National Independent Soccer Association’s 2021-22 season begins.
Chicago NISA president/CEO Peter Wilt and Village of Bridgeview mayor Steven Landek announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding on a multi-year agreement.
“This is welcome news for soccer fans throughout Chicagoland who want to watch their team play in an intimate venue built to showcase their favorite sport, and it is welcome news for the residents of the Village of Bridgeview,” Landek said in a statement. “SeatGeek Stadium is a great platform for high level professional soccer and I’m thrilled the Chicago NISA club will play here.”
SeatGeek Stadium opened in 2006 as the home of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire and added the Chicago Red Stars (National Women’s Soccer League) in 2009. The Fire departed after the 2019 season and the Red Stars continue to play home games at the stadium.
“I’m excited to return to Bridgeview,” said Wilt, who also launched the Fire and Red Stars. “SeatGeek Stadium has terrific fan amenities, sightlines built for soccer, and offers affordable parking conducive to tailgating for fans. We considered several venues, polled soccer fans online, and were convinced SeatGeek Stadium is the best venue for a pro soccer team in Chicagoland.
“The location at 71st and Harlem is better for some than others. It is easily accessible by car from the Tri-State (I-294) and Stevenson (I-55) Expressways. SeatGeek Stadium is also accessible by public transportation via the Orange Line “L” stop, CTA bus lines and various team sponsored shuttles.”
The club plays in NISA, a third division professional soccer league with plans to add a second and even a first division to its open system pyramid in the future.
“SeatGeek Stadium is a venue we can grow into,” Wilt said in a statement. “We don’t expect to fill the 20,000 seats every game initially, but we don’t expect to remain a third division club for long either. NISA offers us the hope, and indeed expectation, to climb the American professional soccer ladder via the meritocracy offered by promotion and relegation.”