Photo by Damion Reid/FiveBoroSports.com
BY DYLAN BUTLER
Acquista Trattoria, a quaint family-owned Italian restaurant in the shadows of St. John's University in Queens, was the scene for the first meeting between owner and supporters' group as Doug Petersen of F.C. New York, the United Soccer Leagues First Division expansion franchise in 2010, met with the Borough Boys, the previously unaffiliated New York City-based supporters' group.
A number of topics were discussed over the course of two hours, from the Borough Boys role with the club, to plans for the club's home to the possibility of joining MLS in the future.
You can read my FiveBoroSports.com story here, but here are a few highlights of the meeting and my discussion with Petersen afterward.
As he indicated at a midtown Manhattan press conference a week ago, Petersen told the supporters that Hofstra will serve as a temporary home. "We don't want to be there for more than a year or two." And while 13,000-seat Shuart Stadium allows F.C. New York to play in a facility that meets the USL-1 standards, there is nothing to stop the club from playing a number of home games inside the city limits. That includes possible home games at Belson Stadium at St. John's University, Columbia's Baker Field and Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island.
A coach and a technical staff will not be hired until the club forms a partnership with a European-based club and Petersen is currently negotiating with four different teams there. While there is no salary cap in USL-1, as is the case in MLS, don't expect F.C. New York to break the bank on players.
"We're going to do the best we can with the budget we have knowing that we have to start small," Petersen said. "It would be less than prudent to spent money unbridled because we're looking over the long term."
Petersen called the past week "berserk" and said his office has been flooded with resumes. He also indicated a "two-time member of the nationa team" knocked on his door asking to get involved. Hmm, could it be Chris Armas?
What's my take on the new team? I know there's already a war of words between the supporters of F.C. New York and the New York Red Bulls, but it's a good thing to bring another team to New York. However, I think the club would be better served finding a New York City-based home from the beginning, establishing themselves as a Big Apple team rather than play in a 13,000-seat stadium that, let's face it, isn't likely going to be half filled although I hope I'm wrong.
The perfect venue would be Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John's Univeristy. Sure it seats less than 3,000, but it's a great place to watch a game and the atmosphere would be fantastic every matchday. From there, go ahead and play select games at Icahn or Baker Field.
Enough about me, what do you guys think? Is there enough room to support two New York-based teams? Are you excited about the USL-1 coming back to New York? Do you want an Acquista Trattoria menu? Let us know.