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Milwaukee professional soccer team will compete in USL Championship

Milwaukee, your wait is over. After months of speculation and anticipation, your new club has officially arrived. During a press conference On Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee soccer community gathered at the future site of the Iron District MKE and announced that Cream City’s newest professional sports team will play in the USL Championship in 2025.

In early 2025, the new team will take to the field and represent Milwaukee in the USL Championship, the second division of American professional outdoor soccer. This will be the highest level of professional soccer in the state of Wisconsin. The USL Championship currently features 27 clubs scattered across the country with Detroit City FC and Indy Eleven being the two closest currently operating clubs to Milwaukee. A new team is also being created in Iowa on a similar timeline to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee will play its games at the aforementioned Iron District MKE, overlooking the downtown skyline. The facility is owned by Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development and will be operated by the Pabst Theater Group. The current timetable looks to have the new stadium at the Iron District site completed in early 2024 according to a press release from Kacmarcik Enterprises. 

Kacmarcic Enterprises represent several high-profile brands and partnerships, including part-ownership of the Milwaukee Bucks and Forward Madison FC. The Flamingos, or Mingos for short, are an immensely popular soccer team in Madison, Wisconsin, that currently play in USL League One, the third tier of American soccer. Since its founding in 2018, the team has built a massive fan base across the state and regularly boasts the largest crowds in its division, even beating teams in the USL Championship for attendance.

Southeastern Wisconsin previously had professional outdoor soccer all the way back in 1993. The Milwaukee Rampage played at Uihlein Soccer Park but despite some success in the USISL Pro League and the USL A-League including two championships, the club folded in 2004. Since then the Milwaukee Torrent has assumed the role of Milwaukee’s highest-level outdoor team, playing semi-professionally in the National Premier Soccer League. 

Milwaukee is also home to the oldest continuously operating professional soccer team in the United States. Founded in 1984, the Milwaukee Wave plays indoor soccer and has won seven league titles, most recently in the 2018-19 Major Arena Soccer League season. The Wave is also consistently amongst the best-attended teams in the MASL, averaging over 3,000 spectators per match last season. 

Wisconsin has deserved a high-level, professional outdoor soccer team for years and has recently proven just how welcoming the market would be to a new team in the area. 

American Family Field, or as it was previously known, Miller Park, has hosted three friendly matches since 2014 with massive turnouts on each occasion. The first match, between Chivas Guadalajara and Swansea City, featured a crowd of over 31,000 on hand to see a 1-1 draw. Since then, games featuring Atlas FC, Newcastle United, C.F. Pachuca and Club Léon have attracted crowds of roughly 20,000 each. 

This summer, English Premier League champions Manchester City faced off against German Bundesliga champions FC Bayern Munich at hallowed Lambeau Field. Despite a rain-soaked match and numerous delays for lightning, the fans turned out in masses. 78,128 fans were treated to a shortened match that finished 1-0 to Man City, thanks to Erling Haaland’s first goal in sky blue. 

Soccer came into American football’s sanctum sanctorum and sold it out. Anyone who said soccer didn’t belong in Wisconsin was wrong, and there was no longer a possibility for debate.

With a beautiful stadium on the way, and numerous fans to boot, Milwaukee’s new professional soccer team has every chance to succeed. The wait until 2025 seems an eternity to the city’s soccer fans, but when the team takes the field for the first time, it’ll feel like a dream come true.

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