As I was writing this article, sporting director Claudio Reyna went on Facebook Live at the NYCFC House and answered some questions. One key highlight from his talk was that NYCFC II is slated to enter USL in 2019. With regard to this series, however, you might have to do some imagining and keep it in mind for the future. (Part 1 is here)
As you can see from the screenshot above, it looks like the Long Island Roughriders are moving to USL next year. The Roughriders have been NYCFC’s PDL (fourth division) affiliate for the past two seasons, but no players have made the jump to the NYCFC first team.
Reyna also said that New York City is looking into options to partner with teams locally for NYCFC II. In this situation, players could probably still train with the first team, only an hour and fifteen minutes away from Yankee Stadium.
It would best though, if they had a relationship akin to the Houston Dynamo and Rio Grande Valley FC. This hybrid affiliation has the Dynamo in charge of players and coaching staff, and RGVFC in charge of day-to-day operations. I believe this situation would be idea; With that in mind, here is the case for Long Island as the home for NYCFC’s second team.
Population: 7.568 million (Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties)
Other Sports Teams: New York Mets, Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders, Brooklyn Cyclones, Long Island Nets, Long Island Ducks, New York Cosmos
Stadiums: Barclays Center, Citi Field, MCU Park, Nassau Colosseum, Shuart Stadium, Bethpage Ballpark
How Would Long Island Fit?
In late 2016, the Roughriders proposed to construct a 5,000 seat stadium on the campus of Suffolk Community College (SCC). This $8-10 million project was to be in conjunction with their bid to move to USL. The minimum stadium requirement for USL is 5,000, so they would just sneak in. This situation would be ideal for New York City FC because SCC is hour and a half away from Yankee Stadium. In addition, City Football Group would probably not have to pay for the stadium construction. Long Island as a sports market is pretty crowded, but I think this team would prevail because of the wide-reaching support of NYCFC. The small stadium also wouldn’t require many people to fill, which could work in their favor.
As mentioned above, a situation akin to the Dynamo would be idea. The Roughriders seem to hold the upper hand if NYCFC is looking to partner in the area due to their desire to move to USL and pre-existing relationship with the club. If they can field the team next year, it would be optimal. By 2019, New York City’s first crop of academy graduates will be ready to move on to USL, and maybe even the first team. So, if we have to wait until then to get a full-fledged second team, so be it.