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A professional soccer team is expected to launch in Portland soon

Gabe Hoffman-Johnson, a former local soccer player who has been leading the effort to bring a professional men's soccer team to Portland for the last several years, announces that the city has been given the franchise rights to join the United Soccer League One.
Nicole Ogrysko
/
Maine Public
Gabe Hoffman-Johnson, a former local soccer player who has been leading the effort to bring a professional men's soccer team to Portland for the last several years, announces that the city has been given the franchise rights to join the United Soccer League One.

Portland may soon be home to a professional soccer team.

The United Soccer League has named the city as an expansion site, after a five-year effort by a group of former local soccer players and other investors to bring a team to Portland.

Justin Papadakis of the United Soccer League joined the group in Portland Thursday night to make the announcement.

"We have no doubt that Portland and Maine are going to be not only one of the top soccer markets in the country, but off the field the place where everyone really comes together," he told a crowd assembled at Bissell Brothers brewery.

A Portland team is expected to launch in 2025, pending city approval for home games to be played at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The field is currently home to multiple Portland High School athletic teams. A final lease proposal is before Portland's Housing and Economic Development Committee.

The team has been granted the rights join the USL1, which is considered a third-tier men's professional soccer league and currently has 14 clubs.

The investors group, known as USL to Portland, has three meetings planned in the city and in Lewiston this fall to solicit public feedback on a team name, colors and brand, said Gabe Hoffman-Johnson, a former local soccer player.

"We have eighteen months to start this club. Really want to include the community in that process. Be very, very thoughtful about different events and engagements across the state. That's part of our plan," Hoffman-Johnson says.

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.


Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.