A rendering of the stadium proposal option which would see the club renovate Fitzpatrick Stadium / Photo courtesy USL to Portland
PORTLAND, Maine – On Tuesday night, leaders of USL to Portland – a prospective USL League One expansion club – met with local officials to present two proposals for a soccer-specific stadium in the city. The group is led by Portland resident and former USL professional player Gabe Hoffman-Johnson and founding investors Jonathan and Catherine Culley.
One proposal would convert the existing field on Preble Street to a professional quality facility, while the other would facilitate redevelopment of and upgrades to Fitzpatrick Stadium. Both options would see other local organizations have access to the facility, and either stadium would also host outdoor events such as concerts and festivals.
“The prospect of having a professional team here in Portland could be life changing for so many Portlanders coming from all corners of the world,” said Julia Trujillo, Director of the City of Portland Office of Economic Opportunity. “It would enhance their sense of belonging and therefore, their retention in the City. Soccer is more than a sport, it is a unique and exciting opportunity to bring our community together.”
The prospective club is heavily focused on community, intending to build an organization which celebrates diversity and inclusion, drives economic impact, and enhances civic pride. USL to Portland has already announced multiple community initiatives, including joining the global Common Goal pledge and partnering with community programs such as the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcoming Center, Portland Area Youth Soccer Association and the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
“After an exhaustive search around Greater Portland, we feel confident that either one of these locations would be successful,” said Hoffman-Johnson. “Our number one goal is to unite and build a vibrant community through soccer that is inclusive to all.”
A rendering of the stadium proposal option on Preble Street / Photo courtesy USL to Portland
Hoffman-Johnson and USL to Portland leadership have been working with the City of Portland behind the scenes for more than a year to evaluate the two options presented, and are now seeking direction from the City Council in the hopes of beginning negotiations for the renovation and lease of one of the proposed stadium locations.