NOTE: This article was updated to include comments from an NYCFC spokesperson.
New York City FC made headlines last month when Mayor Eric Adams formally announced that the club will build a stadium at Willets Point. Days after that spectacle, a less-heralded bit of news connecting the club and the borough of Queens emerged, as York College announced that it had received a $7.5 million donation from NYCFC.
NYCFC donating a hefty sum to York College raises eyebrows because the school has long been associated with another local soccer team: Queensboro FC.
For those who may have forgotten, Queensboro FC was announced with much hype back in 2019, pledging to bring professional soccer to Queens via the USL Championship. David Villa was touted as a “lead investor,” and the club announced plans to erect a 7,500-seat soccer-specific stadium on York’s campus in the Jamaica neighborhood. Queensboro also had ambitious growth plans, as they reportedly hoped to graduate from York and relocate to an even bigger stadium. Their preferred permanent home was reportedly Willets Point—the site that’s now earmarked for NYCFC’s stadium, circa 2027.
Meanwhile, those other big Queensboro plans have completely failed to materialize. Their first team has yet to make its debut in the USL Championship, with Front Row Soccer’s Michael Lewis reporting the club was “defunct,” while another report from Gus Lopes of Territorio MLS claimed they were abandoning the USL Championship to instead join MLS Next PRO in 2024. They’ve successfully established youth teams and a women’s team, but there are still no signs of a senior men’s squad.
A new report raises fresh questions about what exactly is going on between NYCFC, York College, and Queensboro FC. According to Pandora’s Box, an independent student newspaper at York College, NYCFC has acquired Queensboro FC, and the two clubs both “will facilitate the final funding and actual building of” the new soccer facility still planned for the Jamaica school’s campus.
Does NYCFC now own Queensboro FC, and will be involved in a second, much smaller stadium construction project in Queens? NYCFC stated that is not the case. According to a club spokesperson, “NYCFC has not purchased any stake in Queensboro FC, and the club fully supports the efforts for a lower-division team to play in Queens.” For its part, someone from Queensboro FC also confirmed to journalist and Hudson River Blue contributor Jenna Tonelli that the club was not bought by its MLS neighbors.
The sale claim stemmed from statements made by York College administrator Charles Bozian, who according to Pandora’s Box told all of this to the “college senate” of York College in a September meeting. According to statements attributed to Bozian, the 7,500-seat stadium project was described as “delayed but moving forward.”
Since this summer, there have been rumors that the club was interested in finding a new temporary home, with Randall’s Island the rumored site du jour back in June. Theoretically, a new temporary stadium could alleviate some of the scheduling headaches bound to crop up thanks to the rigid new Wednesdays/Saturdays only match windows under the MLS-AppleTV deal. It might eliminate the need to play “home” matches at the loathed Red Bull Arena whenever Yankee Stadium or Citi Field is unavailable.
Could York College now be the club’s destination of choice, with NYCFC’s deep-pocketed owners ready to finish a project started by Queensboro FC back when they actually seemed like a real club?
When asked about the club’s $7.5 million donation to York College, the same NYCFC spokesperson said “Our partnership with York College is just a continuation of our engagements throughout New York City communities since we launched the club.”
More than some light news here. As I stated this summer, #NYCFC has been looking for a temporary stadium solution for conflicts and non-MLS games, spanning from Randall’s Island to other very creative options. Is this part of the solution? https://t.co/cj2xINWaQV— Jordan Griffith (@_JordanGriffith) December 16, 2022