PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A local group headed by a former soccer player has proposed two sites for a stadium that it hopes would anchor a new men’s professional soccer team in Portland.
The City Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee heard the proposal on Tuesday from the group that says it will raise the money from private sources to build the stadium, which it hopes to locate on city land, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Former professional player Gabe Hoffman-Johnson is the founder of the ownership group USL to Portland, referencing the name of one of three divisions of professional soccer sanctioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation. Hoffman-Johnson played soccer at Falmouth High School and lives in Portland, the newspaper reported.
The group asked council members to give them guidance as to which of the two sites they should pursue. One is located at a park off of Interstate 295 on the bay near the Back Cove trail. The second proposed option is to upgrade the Fitzpatrick Stadium and move the track that currently is located there.
The City Council would have final say over approving either site for the project, which would seat between 5,000 and 7,000 fans depending on the site. The soccer league requires any expansion team to have a permanent stadium before approving the new team.
USL to Portland says it would raise between $8 million and $12 million from private funders to build the stadium and lease the land from the city. No name for the potential team has been decided on.
The four committee members told the group they wanted more information about the sites before making a recommendation to the full City Council. They also promised an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the proposal at a future meeting.