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Professional soccer headed toward Queens

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A professional soccer franchise is coming to the city and may be making its permanent home in Queens, one of the heads of the team’s investor group said Thursday.

The club, named F.C. New York, will be participating in the United Soccer League’s First Division, which serves as a feeder league for Major League Soccer.

Doug Petersen, who is heading the investor group with Jo-Ellen Treiber, said the idea for a soccer franchise in the city was conceptualized about two years ago.

“What brought us to this point now was to satisfy the needs of soccer fans that exist primarily in this area,” he said.

Petersen said F.C. New York will play its first home game at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium next year.

F.C. New York will also play a portion of its home games at other yet to be determined sites.

Petersen said St. John’s University is one of the potential venues along with Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island and Columbia University.

But the club’s long-term plan is to build a new 9,000-seat stadium, he said.

“In Queens is where we have our sights set on,” Petersen said, noting that Long Island elected officials are also trying to make Nassau the team’s permanent home.  Aqueduct and Belmont have been mentioned as possible spots for a stadium by people outside of the ownership group.

Petersen, a Jamaica native, said the borough’s diversity provides a large fan base for soccer, noting the sport’s popularity with Latin American and European immigrants.

“Not only am I aware of the importance of the ethnic diversity of Queens, but I probably could’ve written a thesis on it,” he said.

F.C. New York is planning to hold open tryouts with dates and locations to be determined.

“We really believe there’s professional talent that’s hidden in our area,” Petersen said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

 

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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