Image courtesy Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
CHICAGO – The USL is set to arrive on the north side of Chicago within three years, as it was revealed on Tuesday by Sterling Bay Managing Principal Andy Gloor that the developer had bought a United Soccer League expansion club that will compete in the company’s planned sports and entertainment venue along the Chicago River.
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune’s Ryan Ori, Gloor said Sterling Bay would own the team, which would arrive alongside Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire in the city’s sporting landscape.
Final details on the venue are to be confirmed, but the stadium is expected to hold a 20,000-seat capacity and include a retractable roof that would allow the venue to be used year-round for concerts, international soccer exhibitions and other sporting events.
The stadium would be part of a more than 70-acre mixed-use development in the Lincoln Park and Bucktown neighborhoods of the city that includes riverfront land which would enhance other developments planned for the project.
“The live-work-play aspect has to be there,” Gloor told Ori. “You just can’t build a suburban office complex there. Having the entertainment component is important.”
The goal for the new team is to begin play in the 2020 USL season, with Sterling Bay’s plans located at one of the sites that has been proposed for Amazon’s second headquarters.
“This transformative project will include a state-of-the-art stadium that will become a valuable community asset where downtown Chicagoans can enjoy professional soccer and other live events,” USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis said in a statement provided to the Tribune. “This new USL club will also contribute to an already passionate soccer community and the tens of thousands of youth players, parents, coaches and clubs that represent the game’s foundation in Chicago.”