Portland, Maine, will be the home for a USL League One expansion franchise starting with the 2025 season, the United Soccer League has announced.
“This news will put Maine on the global map for soccer,” said 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, benefiting our local economy by attracting new visitors, residents and businesses.”
USL to Portland is the local group behind the effort and intends to call Fitzpatrick Stadium home. Fitzpatrick Stadium, a Portland landmark since 1931, is a 6,000-seat venue that is home to several Portland Public School athletic teams. The new team intends to become a non-exclusive rental tenant of the stadium.
“Portland, Maine has every ingredient necessary to be wildly successful — a committed ownership group, a strong soccer culture and a vibrant multi-cultural population,” USL Deputy Chief Executive Officer Justin Papadakis said. “We’ve built clubs in many cities, and we can see Portland’s potential to become one of the strongest.”
USL to Portland will privately fund upgrades to the facility, which will include increasing accessibility and functionality, adding locker rooms, renovating the press box and improving other general needs. The club will host a series of town-hall-style meetings to engage the community in the process of naming the team and designing its crest and colors.
“I am tremendously excited to welcome the United Soccer League to Maine,” said Maine Governor Janet Mills. “The addition of a professional soccer club is a testament to our state and a welcome investment in the economic, cultural and community vitality of Maine, joining our existing professional sports teams to cement Portland as Northern New England’s premier sports destination. I congratulate the United Soccer League, USL to Portland, the City of Portland, and all who made this exciting announcement possible, and I look forward to attending games in the future.”
USL to Portland has pledged 1% of revenues toward local high-impact organizations centered around DEI and underprivileged youth and forged relationships with local soccer clubs focused on equitable access for underprivileged youth. USL to Portland has also aligned with Portland and South Portland’s One Climate Future Plan.
“Since I started this pursuit to bring professional soccer to my home state, my goal has always been to build community and use it as a conduit for social good. 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,” said founder Gabe Hoffman-Johnson, who played professionally in the USL Championship after being a two-time Gatorade Maine Boys Soccer Player of the Year.