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Monday, July 22, 2024
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Brooklyn Set to Get Soccer Franchise as Sport in U.S. Booms

  • New club led by North Sixth Group to begin play in 2025.
  • Lower-level U.S. league seeing wave of new clubs, attendance growth.
USL expansion in Brooklyn
Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

Major League Soccer has been at the center of the soccer universe with Lionel Messi’s high-profile move to Inter Miami. But Matt Rizzetta is a big believer in the lower-level United Soccer League — and he’s far from alone.

Rizzetta — who through his North Sixth Group owns majority control of Campobasso FC and a minority stake Ascoli FC in Italy — and his partners will field an expansion franchise in USL League One, the third tier of American soccer, based in Brooklyn, New York.

The club, which will start playing in 2025, will seek to capitalize on the growing interest in soccer ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Brooklyn’s rise as a growing and distinct part of New York City, and USL’s development.

Financial terms were not disclosed. However, expansion fees for the USL Championship — the level just below MLS — are now $20 million, while those in USL League One have reached $5 million.

USL grew its attendance 34% last year, and the Brooklyn expansion will join six other new USL Championship franchises and three more in USL League One.

“USL has passed the test of time,” Rizzetta told Front Office Sports. “New leadership has also come in and worked really well with club owners, and we were impressed by that.”

Rizzetta has not disclosed where the new team will play. Two existing potential venues in Brooklyn provisionally approved by USL each will require upgrades. Other key elements, such as club name and brand will be unveiled this summer.

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