MLS- New York City FC

NYCFC offers no update on search for soccer-specific stadium site

Photo by Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Photo by Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

BRONX, N.Y. — Yankee Stadium is currently the home of New York City FC, and it apparently will be for quite some time.

NYCFC is in the midst of its second season as a professional club, but continues to play its MLS matches inside of the baseball cathedral that is Yankee Stadium. NYCFC has long been searching for a location inside of the Big Apple’s five boroughs on which it can build a soccer-specific stadium, but has yet to pinpoint a spot.

In fact, no substantial updates have been given by club officials in months. NYCFC is still in the process of identifying where it can construct a permanent home, and there appears to be no end in sight right now.

“There’s nothing else (to say) from probably the last statement we made on the stadium,” said NYCFC sports director Claudio Reyna on Tuesday morning. “We continue to have discussions and there’s positive inroads being made, but there’s no other comment to be made. We’ll continue to work together with the city on finding the right location.”

Despite consistently drawing good crowds, Yankee Stadium has drawn heavy criticism since NYCFC began playing in it in 2015 because the venue is not tailor-made to host soccer games. The sight lines in parts of the stadium make it tough for fans to see the action, and a portion of the baseball diamond that MLB’s New York Yankees use visibly overlaps the soccer field despite grass being grown on top of it. The dimensions of the soccer field – 110 by 70 yards – are also smaller than most others in MLS.

The lack of space available on the narrow pitch has been the subject of much discussion this season, too, as NYCFC has consistently struggled to get results at home. Currently, the club boasts a subpar 3-3-5 record at Yankee Stadium despite leading the Eastern Conference.

Nonetheless, NYCFC insists that it is not frustrated to play there.

“I think we’re happy to be there,” said Reyna. “It really does feel like a home for us. I think the players would say the same thing. We’re much more comfortable in it than we were last year and in the beginning of this year, and we continue to really know how to play in it.

“I think the best examples are probably the last few games: the (Real) Salt Lake game, the (Philadelphia) Union game, and the (New York) Red Bulls game. We played well, we got a couple of results, but we’ve been playing better on the field.

“We’re not about making excuses, we’re about making sure we do all the talking on the field,” added Reyna. “There’s no excuse. It’s the same dimensions for everyone. It’s the same size, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the games at home because it can really be an advantage to us and it should be.”

Advantage or not, NYCFC understands that it ultimately needs to move out of Yankee Stadium and into a soccer-specific venue to call its own. Just when that will happen, however, is unclear.

“I think we all know that that’s the long-term goal,” said NYCFC midfielder Frank Lampard. “There’s obviously difficulties, but I know it’s not for a want of trying. People are working strongly behind the scenes. I think our fans would love (a soccer-specific stadium), but at the same time I don’t want to talk down the Yankee Stadium because I think it’s a very spiritual stadium. It’s huge. The minute you walk into it, you understand – I know it’s relatively new – the history that comes with that stadium.

“It’s a pleasure to play in it, but, yes, long-term we need our own stadium and I think our fans will feel at home there.”

  • Brain Guy

    Translation: “We have no idea about when, or even how, we will find a spot for a real soccer stadium. Garber bent the rules for us, and will continue to do so because, after all, we play within the municipal boundaries of New York City. And our shoddy playing surface is at least made of grass, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.”

    Liked by 1 person

      • malkin

        Just because Reyna doesn’t publicly disclose everything that may (ok, or perhaps may not) be going on confidentially and behind the scenes every time a random reporter comes up and says “hey, can you give me an update on the stadium so i can be the first to break some news” is a far cry from an internet translator extraordinaire from being able to “factually” say they have no idea when/where/etc. Perhaps they just want to get it right and announce on their own terms? Or does that make too much sense for somebody with an incurable bias to fathom?


  • johnny99

    It’s nearly impossible to build an MLS quality stadium within NYC; Garber knew that when he took Man City’s money. And by branding themselves as NYC’s team, NYCFC can’t really look outside of the five boroughs. So they’re kind of screwed.

    I’d say that they will be at Yankee Stadium long term, but the Yankee’s may get tired of them playing there and pressure them to leave.


    • djdj123

      Not impossible. You just have to pay the right people enough money to buy their approval. It’s all political.


  • Rob

    As long as they keep bringing some washed out former European star periodically people will be happy.


      • Old School

        Whoops – walked into that one. That’s fairly damning to the league then and reinforces the stigma associated with it being a retirement league.


  • Old School

    The pitch they play on is the epitome of term Mickey Mouse and I, along with many buddies who try to watch MLS, turn off the match when we see them playing in Yankee Stadium. It’s embarrassing and I have zero skin in the game.

    The entire rush to get a second club in NY was irresponsible and step back from MLS demanding stadiums be built or in place before welcoming new clubs into the league. We tout Garber’s success, but shouldn’t ignore his failures…this is one of them in it’s current state.


    • Ivan

      I actually do the same when there’s a Seattle Sounders home game on that barf inducing abomination of a ‘field’…I just can’t watch the ugliness…I’d serious organization, they either put grass or get their own staidum…
      Yankees stadium for MLS is another shortsighted awfulness with no end in sight…


      • West Coast Travis

        Youre aware the Sounders arent the only team in MLS that plays on turf right? Also comparing the Sounders situation to NYC is laughable. Seattle plays in a stadium that was built with soccer in mind, NYC plays in baseball stadium with no end in sight.


      • Old School

        Seattle plays in a stadium that was built with soccer in mind

        That’s great in theory, but still doesn’t take away from what Ivan said.

        Seattle (along with Kansas City, Portland, etc) are the models of what MLS clubs should be or aim to be from the top down. However, they’re still second fiddle in the stadium and the turf looks horrific to the eye on TV and the way the ball is played.


      • Concorde

        Built with soccer in mind? It was marketed that way to help get taxpayers to buy in but physically it is not how you would design a soccer stadium, aside from the dimensions of the field perhaps. No grass, no roof, too many seats…

        May have the best fans in the country and that goes a long way toward enjoyable match experience, but it could be even (a lot) better. I suggest visiting the world’s best soccer stadia.


  • Adam M.

    They should put it off the Whitestone Expressway by the New York Times building. Plenty of empty land there, very easy to access by car and they could use shuttles from the 7 train and LIRR. There is no perfect solution, but this ticks off many boxes.


  • BrianK

    First,…the Yankees are in no rush to push NYCFC and the revenue they get from home games out the door.

    Possible sights for a stadium? Flushing Meadows Park, Aquaduct Raceway, Yonkers Raceway, Randall’s Island, Belmont Park,….there is plenty of space in Staten Island (!). Flushing Meadows would be perfect but Yankees are in no rush,…all the sleazy polititions (in NYC read: Democrats) want to be greased, unions want to be greased, mob needs to be greased,….etc, etc, etc.


    • johnny99

      Flushing Meadows has already been tried and MLS got shot down. And it wasn’t due to the “sleazy politicians”, it was the people who live there who objected to public parkland being taken away to build a stadium.

      It’s probably time to give up on Aqueduct. It was identified as a potential stadium site maybe 15 years ago. Given that, since then, the MetroStars, the Cosmos and now NYCFC have all been looking to build a stadium in NYC, there must be some reason why Aqueduct won’t work.

      Yonkers, in theory, won’t work because NYCFC is based on the idea that it is NYC’s team. This would seem to take any stadium location outside of NYC off the table. Similar problem with Belmont, which is right on the NYC/Nassau border but which is mostly in Nassau. And anyway, the Cosmos have first dibs on Belmont (and we can all see how that’s working out for them).

      Randall’s Island? I don’t know how realistic that is. Nice central location, but no subway or train service there. No comment on Staten Island.

      Anyway, it’s not like any of the locations you mention are secrets. I’m pretty sure that MLS/NYCFC have already considered these locations and for one reason or another they won’t work.


    • Astorian

      It would be great, but there’s no way the people that live in the West Village would ever go for that.


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