Major League Soccer (MLS) officials are in discussions to bring a brand-new soccer stadium
to Queens, which would make it the first facility built in New York with a MLS team as its main tenant.
Insiders say the stadium would be built on a section of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in
Flushing near Citifield and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the U.S Open is played.
The stadium would hold 25,000 people and be home to a yet unnamed MLS team, according to a source familiar with the talks.
The team that would play in the proposed stadium would be the league’s 20th franchise in
Another MLS team, the New York Red Bulls, opened a 25,000-seat stadium in Harrison, New Jersey in 2010.
The source close to the discussions said that the proposed stadium would be funded with
private money but still require approval because construction would be on city-owned land.
In addition to building the stadium, MLS would replace and upgrade existing soccer fields
nearby the would-be location and build courts for cricket and volleyball.
MLS has been in “exploratory discussions in recent weeks with city and Queens officials about building the stadium.
“We are thrilled about the prospect of being in Queens and bringing the world’s sport to
the world’s park,” a MLS spokeswoman said. “Major League Soccer remains committed to
securing a 20th team for the League that would be located in New York City.”
One of the officials involved in the discussion with MLS is Jack Friedman, executive director
of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Friedman said that he supports the stadium being built at Flushing Meadows because it would create jobs and bring people from both New York and other states to Queens.
“It’s what’s being played there every day,” Friedman said, adding that soccer is very popular
in the Flushing, Jackson Heights and Corona neighborhoods.
As part of their meetings, Friedman said that he got to discuss any outstanding issues he
had with MLS officials.
According to Friedman, if the stadium is built, no games would be played there during
New York Mets home games and the first week of the U.S Open. This would avoid congestion and parking issues in the area, Friedman said. The MLS regular season usually starts in March and runs at the same time as the Major League Baseball season.
State Senator Tobi Ann Stavisky, whose district includes the area where the stadium
would be built, had some concerns about the project.
According to Josh Goodman, Stavisky’s chief of staff, the construction of the stadium
would need to be done so that it’s environmentally friendly to the area. He also said that, if the stadium is built, parking is a concern that would also need to be addressed in the future
so that it’s sustainable for the neighborhood.
By Luis Gronda