Monday, March 20, 2006

South Jersey to get a MLS Soccer Stadium

Today, Rowan University, located in Glassboro, New Jersey, announced that they would build a new MLS stadium on the West Side of their campus. However, no MLS team was promised to the area.

This stadium will be part of a huge athletic park on the campus. The University will not own the soccer stadium. Instead, the MLS will lease the land and allow Rowan to use it for some of the events.

Rowan will now ask developers to come up with plans for the stadium. They will then select the winning developer in 30-days. They hope to have a contract signed by July 1 and the 20-25,000-seat stadium to open in 2009.

As far as a team for the new digs in South Jersey, well there is still a lot to be worked out. No owners were announced, nor information on if it will be an expansion team or a relocated of a current one. So this is a very new approach for MLS. This marks the first time that a stadium will precede a team.

Hopefully the large Philadelphia market, the chance for some good rivals in DC and New York, along with an existing soccer stadium will help MLS place a great team in the area.

The only semi-firm commitment Mark Abbott, MLS President, made at the announcement was this quote, "See you for kickoff in 2009 and our 2009 national championship."

One funny part of the speech today by University President Donald J. Farish, he brought up FC Dallas's stadium, Pizza Hut Park (he actually called it Pizza Hut Stadium). Anyway, he said, what a great name is that. Hopefully we can do better. Maybe Papa John Stadium?

Even if he is right about the name being bad, it is still an interesting way to begin one's relationship with MLS.



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