Back in May, Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development announced Iron District, a new 11-acre development coming Downtown complete with an 8,000-seat professional outdoor soccer field. And Milwaukee found out today who will play at that new soccer field, as representatives officially announced Milwaukee will be the home for a new United Soccer League (USL) team taking the field in 2025.
“This is an announcement we’ve been working towards behind the scenes for years, and I’m thrilled to bring high-level professional soccer to the city of Milwaukee,” said Jim Kacmarcik, chairman and CEO of Kacmarcik Enterprises, in a release. “Major cities have professional soccer clubs, and we’re proud to deliver that to Milwaukee – a premier sports city with a rich soccer culture that runs deep throughout our community.
“This club, and the entire Iron District MKE project, share an ambitious vision of making a positive impact on the city of Milwaukee, and we can’t wait to get started.”
The new team will serve as Milwaukee's first professional outdoor soccer club since the Milwaukee Rampage, which played for nine seasons between 1994 and 2002 in the A-League, the second-highest tier of pro soccer in the U.S. at the time.
The USL now serves as the second-highest level of American professional soccer, just under the MLS, complete with three professional leagues and teams all across the country – including Madison, where Forward Madison FC has found success on and off the field as a USL League One squad.
Milwaukee's incoming soccer team will play in the league above Forward Madison FC: the USL Championship, with clubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, New York, San Diego and other cities.
“We are thrilled to welcome Milwaukee to the USL Championship and look forward to seeing the city’s vibrant soccer community fill their new stadium week in and week out,” said USL COO and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis, in a release. "The Iron District MKE project is truly unique and transformative for the city, and we are proud that the USL will be a part of it.
“Based on what we’ve seen in Madison, we know that Jim Kacmarcik and Milwaukee Pro Soccer will ensure the new club is a top-tier soccer organization, providing best-in-class facilities for its players, a world-class soccer experience for its fans, and a commitment to having a positive community impact."
While the new soccer team is years away from taking the field, fans can already get involved with the new club by helping pick a name for the squad. Interested fans should head to Name The Team Campaign's website to submit their proposed team name and rationale – with the official club name to be selected from the submissions as the team's debut approaches. (Only sincere suggestions need apply; no Futboly McFutbolface FC please.) Fans will then continue to be involved with creating and voting on the team's identity – such as the crest, the colors and more – throughout the process.
"This team will be Milwaukee's team," Kacmarcik said, during Wednesday's announcement at the future Iron District site. "This will be the team of the people – the people who live here and the people who love soccer."
The soccer field – which will also be the home field for Marquette University's soccer and lacrosse teams – is just one aspect of the new Iron District development, planned for the Marquette-owned plot surrounded by 6th Street, Michigan Street, I-794 and the Marquette Interchange. The project will also feature a 3,500-seat indoor concert venue run by Pabst Theater Group, a 140-room upscale hotel, 99 multi-family residential units and spaces for various retail and restaurant occupants.
"With our agreement with USL Championship now in place, we are ready to begin construction,” said S.R. Mills, Chief Executive Officer of Bear Development, in a release. “Whether you’re traveling from the south or west of Milwaukee, we view Iron District MKE as a transformational gateway to the city that will serve as an asset to the Westown neighborhood and all of Downtown.”
Construction on the development is expected to begin this fall – so stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates on Iron District and the city's newest sports team. (And be sure to get your team name suggestions in!)
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.