Yesterday morning, the United Soccer Leagues announced that a new franchise led by David Villa was forming in Queens to play in the USL Championship. Queensboro FC will begin play in 2021 and play games at York College in Queens, as well as select games at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. That is the same venue that just a few weeks ago hosted New York City FC, who normally plays at Yankee Stadium, in a MLS Cup playoff game. This obviously will be something to watch as the New York City metropolitan area attempts to sustain a 4th professional soccer team.
In many of the big metropolitan areas outside of the United States, it’s routine to see multiple soccer clubs on several levels of the country’s pyramid. London has 13 professional clubs, Madrid has 6, Paris 5 clubs, Tokyo 7, Rio de Janeiro 9, Johannesburg 4, and even Mexico City has 3. Still, not every big city around the world has an extensive list of soccer teams. Chongqing, the biggest city proper in the world, has only 1 soccer team.
Here in the United States, our biggest cities have multiple teams in several of the other popular sports. New York/New Jersey and Los Angeles have multiple teams in every league. Chicago has multiple teams in Major League Baseball, while the Bay Area has multiple MLB and NFL teams (at least, until next year when the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas). Still, in MLS, only 2 areas have multiple teams: New York/New Jersey and LA. If you extend that to include all of the professional soccer teams in America, the areas that have multiple teams include the Bay Area, Chattanooga, and Charlotte, with Miami, San Diego, and Detroit joining that list next year and Austin in 2021.
But, in a country as large as the United States, are there more cities out there that could realistically support multiple professional teams? And, should that be the focus? Could there realistically be a team in each of the 5 boroughs of New York City as well as the New Jersey suburbs? Could El Tráfico grow to be a city championship contested by several teams from different leagues? Today’s Community Corner asks which cities could realistically support multiple pro teams and whether that is something that the American soccer pyramid should be doing.
Hit the comments and start the debate!