Yankee supported MLS team draws cheers and jeers from New Yorkers
The Yankees are taking a swing at soccer as the sport returns to the five boroughs.
Major League Soccer announced Tuesday that the Yankees will be a minority owner of the league's 20th team, along with Manchester City Football Club.
The New York City Football Club is set to begin play in 2015.
A source close to the deal said the fee to join the league would be $100 million.
"They understand soccer," Yankees president Randy Levine said of Manchester City during a conference call. "We know New York City. We have been doing business here for a long time. We know how things work. So, we're going to help them. We know how to build championship teams."
The Bombers will host Manchester City for a game at Yankee Stadium this weekend.
In a statement, Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City, said: "New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fan-base."
While some local soccer fans are cheering the news of a new team, opponents say New York City FC's push for a stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park would hurt the community.
The team will play at a yet-to-be determined field in 2015 while seeking a permanent home. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is on the short list.
Soriano said he is strongly considering a proposal to build a privately financed $340-million, 35,000-seat facility on 13 acres in the park. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he supports the potential Queens site and said it would boost the borough.
Paul Graziano, a co-founder of Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, said the combination of the potential stadium, Citi Field and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center would leave little land for actual parkgoers.
"As everyone in Queens -- except for most of our elected officials -- seems to know, the proposed site was a terrible location for any sort of stadium," he said.
Geoffrey Croft, the president of the parks watchdog group NYC Parks, agreed.
"They can have their team play at Yankee Stadium and not disturb anybody," he said.
Still, word of the city's MLS team, which would be the first major professional soccer team in the five boroughs (the Red Bulls play in New Jersey) since the original New York Cosmos ended their run in 1985, excited local fans.
Randy Vogt, a spokesman for the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association, said soccer enthusiasts have been clamoring for a team that’s closer to home.
"With so many immigrants plus so many kids who play soccer with many of them now being adults, this franchise has a built-in fan base. They can all watch the team play," Vogt said.
Upper East Side resident Oscar Castillo, 36, said the new team will bring more people into the sport. "It will be the same thing as the Brooklyn Nets. Once they built the stadium everybody just showed up," he said.