New York city and state officials are close to finalizing a deal with Major League Soccer that would allow the league owners build a $300 million soccer-specific stadium and complex in Flushing Meadows, Queens, the New York Post reports.
The complex would sit on nine acres located near Citi Field and Arthur Ashe Park. A 25,000-seat stadium will be home to an MLS expansion franchise, and nine more adjacent soccer fields would be constructed for community use. Construction could begin as soon as early next year.
Major League Soccer has aggressively expanded throughout its 16-year history, and since fielding 10 teams in the inaugural 1996 season, nine teams have been added, including three in Canada. The MLS ownership group has long sought a team to rival the New York Red Bulls, who play out of Harrison, New Jersey. If the league added another New York team, the automatic rivalry would most closely resemble the Los Angeles metropolitan area’s between the LA Galaxy and Carson, California’s Chivas USA.
Before the Queens location, Pier 40 in Manhattan was looked at as a possible location to break ground. But in the end, Flushing Meadows won out.
“Flushing Meadows is centrally located, can easily be reached from Long Island, and Queens has large ethnic populations that really love the sport of soccer,” a source close to the deal told the Post. “This would be a big boon to the state and the city, and, of course, it would be very exciting for the different ethnic groups in the city that love the sport of soccer. It would provide a great recreational opportunity.”