There are plenty of irons in the fire for new or renovated United Soccer League stadiums and similar projects across the country, but the two teams set to join the league in 2022 – Monterey Bay Union FC and Queensboro FC – have stadium deals with universities to use their land or existing facilities.
Both the University of New Mexico and Peter Trevisani, principal owner of New Mexico United, have said the logistics of scheduling matches and use of university facilities, including UNM-owned parking lots, around the Avenida Cesar Chavez/University Boulevard sports area would be difficult, and the expressed desire to add a women’s soccer team to the mix makes pursuing a UNM/United partnership pretty much a non-starter.
Trevisani said the soccer teams would have to schedule their games around both the Lobos football games and Isotopes baseball games, as well as occasional events in the Pit that might overlap the soccer season. He also noted that Saturday games are crucial to draw fans and revenue for both the city and teams, especially in attracting out of town fans, and both the Isotopes and Lobo football team regularly have Saturday games.
But that doesn’t mean sharing a college facility can’t be done.
Last month, the league and Monterey Bay Union FC had a ceremonial groundbreaking for the renovation of Freeman Stadium on the campus of Cal State University-Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif.
The 14-year agreement approved by the university’s Board of Trustees states three teams – Monterey Bay Union and the Otters men’s and women’s Division II soccer teams – will train and play games on the field, which is to receive turf, seating and locker room upgrades and more.
The team’s ownership group is reportedly paying $11 million for renovation of the stadium, which was built in 1951. The stadium will have 6,000 seats and be called Cardinale Stadium, as the team announced that an area car dealership has acquired naming rights.
“Cardinale Stadium is one of the more than 25 new stadiums expected in the USL over the next three to five years,” the league’s news release from Sept. 16 stated.
In April, Queensboro FC announced it is building a 7,500-seat stadium on the campus of York College in Jamaica, Queens, New York, for use starting in 2022.
While the price tag is unknown, construction is covered entirely by the team’s ownership while the land is provided by the City University of New York system. The team has a five-year lease with CUNY with extension possible.
York College and other CUNY programs will get use of the facility.
In fact, according to the lease, the stadium must be used primarily – “meaning at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the time, for CUNY events and secondarily, meaning no more than forty-nine percent (49%) of the time, for QBFC events and/or third-party events.”