Queensboro FC (QBFC), an expansion club of the United Soccer League, announced that York College will serve as the site of its home games at a press conference at York College in Jamaica on April 27.
The 7,500-seat modular soccer stadium will be built on the field behind the Health & Physical Education complex. It will be the first and only professional soccer-specific stadium in New York City. The kickoff date on the turf pitch is set for March 2022.
In addition to hosting QBFC practices and competition play, the stadium will also serve as the venue for York College’s commencement, CUNY Athletic Conference tournament games, and other free or ticketed events.
Jonathan Krane, principal owner of Queensboro FC, thanked CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, York College President Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes, Congressman Gregory Meeks, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and Council members I. Daneek Miller, Adrienne Adams and Francisco Moya for supporting the vision of bringing a professional soccer team to Queens.
“Today is special because today is the culmination of several years of hard work and commitment in support of the vision to build a home stadium in Queens for its own soccer team and for the community. A vision to bring people together in this great borough. Queensboro FC promised to deliver this vision to the community and our fans, and today we’re here because it’s official,” Krane said.
Rodríguez was delighted to be part of the experience and that the stadium was the kind of project dear to his heart because of what it brings to the community.
“It is going to add vitality to this community. It is going to bring sports, entertainment, wellness. It is going to bring economic development; it’s going to bring job opportunities. It’s going to bring synergy with the great student body and faculty that we have here at your college,” said Rodríguez, who added that he paid his way through college as a soccer referee said before offering his services.
“I’m used to be the guy that everybody hates. I have a lot of experience. I still have my whistles and my yellow [and] my red card. So if you’re ever short in a match, I can pitch in,” he joked.
Eanes said that faculty and students alike are thrilled to welcome QBFC.
“As I tell my students, it’s time to get it started and keep it going. So I know this is just the beginning. And I know that you all know how much the students of York mean to this community, and how much we are dedicated to growing and going along. Please, please, please know that you all are at home,” Eanes said.
Meeks, who called soccer by its proper name, “football,” said he is excited for the opportunity to watch it right here in Jamaica, Queens, New York.
“And what we are so proud of with this football team coming here is that it will exemplify what we need in America today, all of us coming together with people from different nationalities, different parts of the world,” Meeks said before reminding the players that Queens wants nothing less than the championship.
Richards began his speech by challenging Congressman Meeks to a football match once the stadium is built.
He went on to praise CUNY as an institution that has been the gateway of success for many of its students because of its affordable and quality education, propelling almost six times more low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined.
“This stadium will create good-paying jobs and will generate economic growth in Jamaica and all of Queens. And this is not a short-term benefit; this is a multi-generational benefit. There have been people who said we need to go back to normal. Well, I don’t want to go back to normal. We want a new normal for communities like this to make the point and today is an example,” Richards emphasized.
QBFC academy player, Juan Cruz, 18, immigrated from Columbia five years ago and said football is a passion and a sport that unifies people.
“Football is right in your heart. It is a passion you feel, and having a great stadium like this in our own backyard is really a great honor,” said Cruz, who aspires to be a professional player.
For Councilman Francisco Moya, who played an instrumental part in bringing the stadium to Jamaica, it is a dream come true. Moya, a longtime and avid football fan, plans his life around every single game of his favorite team, FC Barcelona, and admitted that he became emotional when watching the stadium’s introductory video.
“The common denominator that brings us all together is the love and the passion for football, and you’re seeing that here today, and it couldn’t be in a better place than York College,” Moya said.
Moya also wants to make sure that QBFC is a neighborhood team, drawing from the talent pool that exists in Queens, which is home to over 150 nationalities and where 350 different languages are spoken.
“There is not one inch of grass in Flushing Meadows Corona Park that isn’t being played with football,” said Moya. “I think what makes the quality teams is their homegrown talent. And we have that here. We are going to find that one player who is going to shine.”
“The fact that they’re partnering up with the university is just an incredible moment for us here in the borough. And for true football fans, this is a great day,” Moya added.