Louisville City FC talks new stadium, MLS expansion
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – In many ways, Louisville City FC Chairman John Neace is just a fan.
"I think what gets me excited is that it's great entertainment," Neace said of the team.
Like many new fans of the fast-growing sport, he got into soccer because his sons played.
"I saw it more as an investment that would probably be good for the city," he said. "And it would probably give me the opportunity to do some
fun things with my sons who both played soccer and love the sport very much."
This is a critical period for the team, and just like many fans, he's frustrated at how long it has taken to get a stadium.
"That's the entire challenge," Neace said.
Renderings are in the works and he guesses will be finished and ready for play in two to three years.
"I think anybody who thought it was going to be done overnight was really caught up in the zeal of a new team and not the reality," Neace said.
Any later than 2018, though, and the team could face serious financial issues.
"If we get there and we don't have a stadium, probably something else is going to have to happen," Neace said.
The chairman is taking on a larger role now with longtime president Amanda Duffy leaving for the National Women's Soccer League. Right now, the team isn't actively looking for a replacement.
"She knows not only the game of soccer but the business of soccer and that will be sorely missed," Neace said.
Even without Duffy, the team is planning to be part of a Major League Soccer expansion. Neace doesn't expect to be part of the next wave of two teams but he's still hoping they'll make the group after that.
"Go 100 miles," He said. "Go 150 miles and look at our natural competitors. They're in the same spot we are."
Louisville City FC is up against cities like Nashville, St. Louis and Cincinnati. All would need the 20,000-seat soccer-specific stadium the MLS expects from new teams.
"If you don't make those kinds of investments in the community, you're always going to lag the communities who do," he said.
After back to back semi-final losses, the short-term goal is a championship.
"We need to win two more games," Neace said. "We're going to do that one year soon."
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