United Soccer League Eyes Des Moines for USL Championship Club
DES MOINES, IOWA — A game-changing opportunity is coming to Central Iowa! The United Soccer League (USL) is eyeing Des Moines as a future home of a professional level USL Championship club. Kyle Krause, chairman and CEO of Krause Group, and Greg Edwards, president and CEO of Catch Des Moines, hosted USL representatives to make the official announcement this evening at the Krause Gateway Center in downtown Des Moines. The USL Championship franchise is contingent upon the development of a home stadium.
“Des Moines is a wonderful community that would make an ideal home for a USL Championship club,” USL President Jake Edwards said. “There is very strong local ownership and a huge appetite for professional soccer. All that’s remaining now is the development of a soccer-specific stadium, and once that occurs, we look forward to delivering a professional soccer club that this community can be proud of.”
The USL Championship is one of the most successful professional soccer leagues in the world, with a reach of more than 84 million people. The league currently comprises 36 clubs across the United States and Canada, including clubs in cities such as San Diego, Las Vegas, Birmingham, Nashville, Phoenix and more. When evaluating cities for potential franchises, the USL seeks three things: existing soccer clubs with strong local ownership, an appetite for professional soccer and a thriving community with the capacity to host a soccer-specific stadium. USL officials readily identified these elements in Des Moines.
Des Moines, which is home to the Menace organization, a successful USL League Two club, is primed to go pro with a USL Championship franchise. First, a soccer-specific stadium must be approved and constructed. To build support for the club and stadium construction, the USL Pro Iowa campaign is being launched.
“USL Pro Iowa will be a rallying point for our growing and diverse community,” notes Greg Edwards. “As recommended by our Destination Master Plan to be released later this fall, the development of a professional soccer stadium completes Greater Des Moines’ legacy as the number one minor league sports community, making our metro one of very few cities to have all professional minor league sports represented!”
The stadium will require public-private partnership funding and will be built to meet the needs of the region while complying with USL standards. Current plans envision the stadium as a multi-use facility for Central Iowa that would welcome numerous sporting and cultural events beyond USL soccer. The multi-use stadium, and its programming, will spur economic growth, increase tourism and showcase Iowa by attracting regional and national events. The proposed stadium plan includes at least 6,000 seats (some covered), 18 suites, club seating and a fan zone. The proposed stadium would also house a state-of-the-art audio/video system, sustainable construction and operations and a multi-purpose facility and grounds for an unmatched fan experience.
“As the fastest-growing major metro in the Midwest, and home to one of the most successful USL League Two clubs, Des Moines is primed and ready to take soccer to the next level,” says Krause. “Bringing Des Moines a USL Championship club — Iowa’s first professional soccer team — and a multi-use stadium will have transformative benefits to Central Iowa, further boosting civic pride and the economic vitality of our growing city.”
If approved by state and local officials, the stadium and club are set to generate an annual minimum of $9.9 million in total spending and $2.3 million in increased earnings for Central Iowa, meaning a 10-year impact of at least $98 million, according to a regional feasibility study conducted by Johnson Consulting. Krause Group and USL look forward to working with decision-makers and the community to build support for the USL Pro Iowa movement.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” notes Krause. “For young people from all walks of life, soccer is a sport that unites everybody. This is a tremendous opportunity to inject energy into the local economy and the cultural and social vibrancy of our community, as has been done in other USL cities like Louisville, Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento. This would be a game changer for Des Moines.”