A Saudi Prince, the Yankees, and Claudio Reyna (former U.S. national team captain and Manchester City player) have teamed up in the latest attempt to popularise soccer in the U.S. “The New York Football Club” is scheduled to begin play in 2015 thanks to a $100 million investment by Sheik Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi (owner of the Manchester City Football Club) and the New York Yankees.
The hope is that big money will bring in big talent, much like the fabled New York Cosmos of the 1970s which featured Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, and Franz Beckenbauer. The money effect can already be seen in the hiring of Claudio Reyna as the general manager of the club. The Man City philosophy of spend spend spend has a disciple in the NYFC who may find the MLS salary cap to be an uncomfortable bed fellow.
Will the New York sports fans find a place in their hearts for yet another pro team? They’ve already got two pro football trams, two pro basketball teams, two pro baseball teams, two pro hockey teams, and one pro soccer team.
On top of which, they have to create a venue in which to put on this show. The preferred location is Flushing Meadows, home to the 1964 World’s Fair and close to the Citifield, the baseball Met’s stadium. The Mets, however, are demanding a king’s ransom: $40 million dollars for the use of their parking lot. And various community groups oppose building a new stadium in their local park.
Last, but not least, the current New York soccer team, the Red Bulls, and their fans are none-too-pleased with the flashy invaders. Some worry that rather than increasing soccer coverage in the New York area, the NYFC will dilute the current fan base and endanger the profitability of both teams.
As the song goes, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, it’s up to you, New York, New York”, or at least that is what some U.S. soccer fans are hoping.