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MLS may be backpedalling on Queens as NYC site

May 21, 2013, 8:02 PM EDT

Queens

Jumbled up in all the excited and scattered implication, impacts and ramifications of today’s big MLS announcement has been some curiously mixed messages on the future site of Major League Soccer’s new home.

For months now, it’s been Queens – and all about Queens.

This is what MLS commissioner Don Garber told a gathering of Associated Press sports editors just last month: “If we get this done, it will be in Flushing Meadow Park. There is no Plan B.”

It seemed that Major League Soccer’s plan to develop a 25,000-seat stadium as part of a $340 million project was just about done circling the outer markers and ready to come in for a landing … an appropriate metaphor since the site selected was just down the road from LaGuardia Airport.

(MORE: A stadium for NYCFC … harder than you may think)

But the project got bogged down in local politics, as these things so frequently do. It is apparently all about Major League Soccer’s obligation to create parkland as part of a land swap. And thus, we get statements like this from Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano, which came during an interview with ESPN FC:

We are very well aware that the city and MLS have been working on this potential stadium in Queens, and we want to continue these discussions. But this is not about finding a stadium, it’s about finding a home, so we want to do the process right. We want to listen to everybody in the community. We’re looking for a home that will be successful from a football standpoint, the commercial standpoint, but also the community standpoint. So we’ll take the time to listen to everybody and to continue these discussions. At the same time we need to look at other options.”

That’s from Jeff Carlisle’s piece at ESPNFC.com, where the veteran soccer writer wonders about all this backpedaling. Major League Soccer’s newest ownership group, and quite the well-heeled one, said pursuit of the site as part of the Flushing Meadoes complex will continue. But they sound a lot less committed today than a month ago.

It could just be leverage at work. Because in the leverage department, Major League Soccer just put a bunch of weight on its side in the Yankees, clearly an institution in the nation’s largest city. Still, it ’s worth wondering about. And watching.

(MORE: MLS, Yankees and Manchester City make it official)

  1. jerichowhiskey - May 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    An interesting note is the Wilpon family was apparently livid to hear the Yankees were investors in the team. Not sure what they were thinking there if MLS needed the parking lots Wilpon controls. That with opposition from local community boards and lukewarm reception by the City Council including my own who is on the Parks and Recreations committee and the Speaker, it was asking for trouble.

    • wfjackson3 - May 22, 2013 at 12:46 AM

      Are people outside of NYC likely to have any idea what you are talking about? Or is it just me that has no idea who the hell the Wilpons are?

      • danielofthedale - May 22, 2013 at 1:07 AM

        I live outside of NYC, but the Wilpons are the owners of the New York Mets.

    • scoocha - May 22, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      I think it’s the opposite, the Yankees don’t want to be associated with anything in Queens. This would hurt their brand value as Queens is well Queens. Mets territory, blue collar as opposed to white collar, not a good fit for Yankees.
      That being said, I think Queens is the best place for NY soccer since it is one of the most diverse counties/boroughs in the US.

      • jerichowhiskey - May 22, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        Huh? I’m not sure you realize that each borough has several neighborhoods that differ in many ways. It’d be like describing Jamaica as the same as South Jamaica in Queens.

      • scoocha - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        Do you follow the Yankees branding efforts? They want nothing to do with Queens.
        Queens is perfect for soccer, most diverse borough in NYC.

      • jerichowhiskey - Jun 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        I am speaking of your notion that the Bronx is somehow all white collar territory. LOL

  2. chadmoon1 - May 22, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    I want to make sure I have this all correct. The Mets owners (Wilpons) have been mentioned many times in the past as a possible partner for NYC2. The new “stadium” locale being looked at is in Queens, where the Mets play. So now Garber the genius has the Yankees, who play in the Bronx, as the new partner, and want to build a stadium under the nose of their NY rival Mets?

    You can’t even contrive to be that stupid!

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