There’s a new soccer club coming to New York City. In 2021, the borough of Queens will have a team to call its own.
The United Soccer League announced Tuesday it awarded an expansion franchise in its Championship division to a group led by New York businessman Jonathan Krane and former World Cup champion David Villa. The club will be known as Queensboro FC.
York College in Queens will host most of the club’s home matches in a new 7,500-seat stadium, but the team will also play a few matches at Citi Field, home of MLB’s New York Mets.
“I lived and played in New York for four years. I know what a special place Queens is,” Villa said in a statement. “I love the cultures, the food, the people and their passion for life and, of course, soccer. There is no other place like it in the world. It’s a dream to help build this football club in Queens and I couldn’t choose a better location.”
Villa, 37, currently plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, but played for NYCFC of Major League Soccer from 2014 through 2018, scoring 80 goals for the team over 124 matches. Krane is the CEO of KraneShares, an asset management firm based in New York City.
Krane told the New York Post he is a “lifelong sports fan” and was in talks with the USL about acquiring a team for about a year and a half. KraneShares was a jersey sponsor this past season for New Mexico United, a USL Championship side.
— Queensboro FC (@QueensboroFC) November 12, 2019
“We are excited to bring a USL Championship club to Queens,” Krane said in a statement. “Queens has a large, passionate and knowledgeable community of soccer supporters and players from all over the world and deserves a club to call its own. We look forward to working closely with the community to establish Queensboro FC as not just a leading organization in professional soccer but also as a proud ambassador of Queens. Together we will accomplish great things on and off the pitch.”
The USL Championship played with 34 teams this past season. With Ottawa Fury FC suspending operations and San Diego Loyal SC coming on board, that number should remain the same for next season. A team based in San Francisco is expected to join the Championship alongside QBFC in 2021.
“We are thrilled to bring professional soccer to Queens,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a statement. “Soccer is second nature to many who call this borough home, and with a strong sense of community in the most culturally diverse area in the world, a USL Championship club in Queens is the perfect fit.”