New stadium providing NYCFC another dimension to flourish in Big Apple

NYCFC new stadium
Members of NYCFC and its academy teams pose at the official announcement of their new stadium. (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)

The opportunities for New York City Football Club (NYCFC) and COO Jen O’Sullivan are limitless after securing a permanent, soccer-specific home at Willets Point in Queens — set to open in 2027. 

Not only can the eight-year-old club lay down permanent roots in the five boroughs, but a state-of-the-art venue is only going to help amplify its standing within ever-growing Major League Soccer as one of its more established, successful teams.

“I think it’s been an exciting year for us and last year to have won the MLS Cup for the first time in seven or eight years of our existence, it puts us in a different category,” O’Sullivan exclusively told amNewYork. “It gives us a lot more street cred. But now to have a home for the champions is really exciting.”

That includes — when it gets closer to the doors opening — improving its standing on the market to acquire top-tier talent. There isn’t much else NYCFC could boast at this point in terms of staking their claim as one of the top North American clubs on the continent. 

NYCFC new stadium
First renderings of NYCFC’s new stadium (Photo courtesy of S9 Architecture)

To go with their first-ever MLS Cup championship in 2021, they won the 2022 Campeones Cup before making a run to the Eastern Conference Final despite a turbulent season. All this while playing at Yankee Stadium, which hasn’t been a reliable home considering they’re not the main tenant and it’s not approved by CONCACAF (North America’s governing soccer organization).

“I think it’s the understatement of the year to say that we are thrilled and excited to be embarking on the phase of this journey,” O’Sullivan said. “The search for a permanent home for this club started 10 years ago. We’ve had a lot of twists and turns, we’ve had a lot of people working very hard behind the scenes and we have an entire fan base that’s been with us every step of the way.

“Without the constant support of them, we probably wouldn’t be here.”

So after accomplishing what it has over the last few seasons, the ascension for NYCFC is just beginning in O’Sullivan’s eyes.

“I don’t think that there is a ceiling,” she said. “We play in the biggest market in the country if not the world. Some of the things that are challenges in New York are also blessings. It grows potential for the game of soccer… What people forget is that the game grows very different here in the US compared to the rest of the world. 

“When you talk about some of these clubs in Europe and in South America, they have 100 years of history. It’s still early days for us in the United States. MLS is only 27 years old and we here in New York are only eight years old. When you talk about the potential for growth and opportunity in New York… I think New York is the best place to position [ourselves] for opportunity and growth.” 

For more on NYCFC and its new stadium, visit AMNY.com