NAPLES & TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League today announced it has awarded a USL League One franchise to Naples, located in Southwest Florida. USL Naples will begin play in 2025, led by a world-class ownership group with decades of experience in the global sports industry and investments in North American and European sports leagues. The team will call the Paradise Coast Sports Complex home.
"In creating a winning plan for USL Naples, we've consulted with advisors and investors to bring the highest quality of professional soccer with a family-friendly environment to the region," said USL Naples CEO Roberto Moreno. "We are committed to growing with the local community so that our players become a source of pride and inspiration for our friends and neighbors."
USL Naples aims to establish a team that truly reflects Collier County's diverse residents and business community while supporting the next generation of local athletes. With youth club Azzurri Storm SC and NPSL side Naples United FC, soccer has been an integral part of this region for many years.
"We are thrilled to welcome USL Naples and Southwest Florida to professional soccer," said Justin Papadakis, USL Deputy CEO & Chief Real Estate Office. "With a deeply committed, forward-thinking ownership group led by Roberto Moreno, a state-of-the-art facility in the Paradise Coast Sports Complex and a history of excellence in youth soccer, Naples is poised for immediate and long-term success as a soccer city. This new club will represent Naples and Collier County on a national and international stage and be a catalyst for both culture and business. We look forward to seeing it all come to life on the Paradise Coast as we begin the countdown to kickoff in 2025."
USL Naples is committed to involving the community in shaping the club. The club will host listening sessions and community-focused events throughout 2024 to connect with fans of all ages and perspectives. USL Naples will develop its name, crest, and colors – the spirit of the club – to authentically reflect the people and the place that make the Paradise Coast unique.
"The addition of a professional soccer club to our community will place Southwest Florida in front of soccer fans around the country, diversifying our tourism base, supporting local businesses, and offering a healthy entertainment experience for our residents," said Collier County Commissioner Chris Hall. "We look forward to working with USL Naples to make the most of this unique opportunity."
Now entering its sixth year, USL League One will kick off the 2024 season in March, featuring 12 teams and live coverage of every match via national media partners such as CBS Sports. A robust, strategic expansion plan will see the league double in size and feature several new soccer-specific stadiums within the next five years.
The Paradise Coast Sports Complex will serve as home to the USL Naples team. Opened in 2019, the 160-acre complex is anchored by PCSC Stadium, which boasts great views from every seat, designated family areas, VIP suites and cabanas, multiple dining options and a capacity of 5,000 for soccer. The Complex also includes eight other professional-level synthetic turf fields and on-site recreation and entertainment areas.
"We are honored to partner with a league of distinction and excited to showcase the Paradise Coast Sports Complex in national professional competition," said Adrian Moses, General Manager of Paradise Coast Sports Complex. "From first introduction, USL Naples has demonstrated that success for them is not only on the field, but also in the community at large. To have a partner who complements our mission was critical in selecting the perfect team ownership group for Collier County."
Fans are invited to meet the operating and ownership group during its kick-off party on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET at the Paradise Coast Sports Complex. The afternoon will feature games, prizes, food trucks, and goodie bags for the first 500 people. Guests will also be given the first opportunity to contribute to USL Naples' brand identity by signing up for community engagement sessions. This event is free and open to the public.