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Breaking: Portland, ME Awarded a USL League One Team
The team plans to play its inaugural season in 2025.
Professional soccer is coming to Portland, ME in 2025.
The United Soccer League (USL) announced on Thursday that USL to Portland has been awarded a League One (USL1) franchise. The team plans to play its home games at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
The club is looking to be a non-exclusive rental tenant of Fitzpatrick Stadium, which has 6,000 seats. USL to Portland will privately finance upgrades to the facility, which include increasing accessibility, adding locker rooms, renovating the press box, and improving the general aesthetics. Students and citizens will continue to have access to the stadium.
It’s estimated that the new soccer team will generate $10M+ in tax revenue for the region and create upwards of 50 permanent jobs.
“This news will put Maine on the global map for soccer,” explained Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. “Soon, Maine will host teams from across the country and shine a national spotlight on our state, benefitting our local economy by attracting new visitors, residents and businesses.”
Gabe Hoffman-Johnson is one of the team’s founders. Hoffman-Johnson was a two-time All-American at Falmouth High School before captaining the men’s soccer team at Dartmouth College and playing professionally in the USL Championship League.
The foundership team also includes Jonathan and Catherine Culley of Redfern Properties, a Portland-based housing developer, and Tom Caron, a Lewiston native who is currently a member of NESN’s Red Sox broadcasting team.
“Since I started this pursuit to bring pro soccer to my home state, my goal has always been to build community and use it as a conduit for social good,” Hoffman-Johnson said in a press release. “Portland is an incredible city and this club will directly contribute to uniting the ever-growing mosaic of who Portland is, and who it’s going to be.”
USL to Portland has been active in the Maine soccer community since 2019. The group has donated 4,000 soccer balls to the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, hosted soccer games and watch parties, and connected with local youth soccer groups.
The organization has also pledged 1% of revenues towards local high-impact organizations centered around DEI and underprivileged youth and aligned itself with Portland and South Portland’s One Climate Future Plan.
“Having a professional team here in Portland will be life-changing for new Mainers coming from all corners of the world,” said Portland’s Director of Social Justice, Umaru Balde. “When most arrive, they’re far from home and everything is unfamiliar – having a connection through soccer will bring people together and build a universal sense of belonging.”
USL to Portland will host a series of meetings to seek community input regarding the team’s name, crest, and colors. They will also look to connect with local fans and businesses.
The first town hall style event will be held at the Portland Zoo on September 24. This will be followed by a youth soccer event at Bayside Bowl in October and a local business, non-profit and community-focused event in November.