Brooklyn Football Club, which will make their USL League One debut in 2025, revealed their colors, badge, and identity earlier today. An executive at the club says that the team will announce even more significant news soon.
Matt Rizzetta, founder of North Sixth Group that’s behind the launch of Brooklyn Football Club, said the club have an agreement in principal on a home stadium in Brooklyn that they hope to announce in the next 30-45 days, pending approvals from FIFA and US Soccer related to the field surface.
Rizzetta didn’t name the venue, and didn’t respond when asked if Maimonides Park, the 7,000-capacity minor league baseball stadium in Coney Island once home to the New York Cosmos, is under consideration.
Rizzetta said stadium Plan Bs and Plan Cs have also been identified. “Obviously the big elephant in the room with soccer, pro soccer in Brooklyn, where are you going to play? Both Plan A and B are dedicated stadiums in the borough of Brooklyn,” Rizzetta said. “We are doing everything we can to play in Brooklyn, and we’re super confident we’ll be able to.”
USL League One teams play in venues with capacities ranging from 1,000 to up to 10,500, so this isn’t a similar situation to that of New York City FC of MLS, who searched for years to find the right place to build their now-under-public-review 25,000-seat soccer stadium.
Brooklyn FC would join lower-division Italian clubs Ascoli FC and Campobasso FC, and lower-division Swiss club FC Locarno, as the fourth member of the multi-club ownership group dubbed Club Underdog. Club Underdog is made up exclusively of lower-tier teams, and refers to itself as the first multi-club ownership group with a global network of teams that “share underdog values.”
The group lists its investors as Rizzetta’s North Sixth Group, which is the controlling partner and operator, along with real estate firm Stanford Properties Group, construction company Avicor, and daytime television celebrities Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. All Club Underdog teams play in the lower divisions in their respective countries, but will share their resources—scouting, player movement, and so on—in a similar multi-club group fashion to what NYCFC supporters have seen with City Football Group.
Rizzetta detailed even more major announcements the new Brooklyn team is on the cusp of making.
Expect a significant American soccer name to come on board as a financial backer of Brooklyn’s new club. Rizzetta said the team is very close to finalizing an agreement with “one of the top three players in US Soccer right now, who is also very excited about what we’re building in Brooklyn,” to join as an investor and/or co-owner.
Along with that still-unnamed investor, Brooklyn Football Club have identified their first CEO and general manager. No names were shared as candidates for either position, but Rizzetta described BKFC’s first CEO as being “super well-versed in local soccer, the youth academy side of things, as well as US Soccer and the international soccer scene.”
Rizzetta said the club’s new general manager has an English Premier League pedigree, “someone who has been with a Premier League club for almost 20 years and is enamored with US soccer and wanted to come work in the US. We spent about a year recruiting him, he’s a big believer in what we’re building in Brooklyn, the ability to go develop players locally, recruit internationally those who want to come to Brooklyn and play here, who are maybe a contract or two away from their first ‘tier one’ deal. For them Brooklyn can be a great launching pad.”
Recruiting, developing, and eventually selling young players, be they domestic Americans or internationals, was a big focus of Rizzetta’s comments on Brooklyn FC’s sporting plans. Rizzetta said to expect to see a lot of recruiting of players from foreign U20 national teams, with a focus on players representative of the Brooklyn diaspora, with Rizzetta singling out Jamaica, Ecuador, Haiti, and Poland as examples.
According to Rizzetta, the club is considering three proposals from potential Brooklyn-based training facilities the team would utilize to prep for its matches, and Brooklyn FC has an arrangement already set to help provide signed players with housing.
Youth development is set to be a big focus for Brooklyn FC, as Rizzetta said the team will also soon announce a collaboration with an unnamed local youth academy. Free and open access for youth players is going to be the mission of Brooklyn FC’s setup, with Rizzetta saying “Our strategy is heavily concentrated on player development and nurturing talent locally. If you’re charging ridiculous fees, it’s hard to do that. So you’re going to see us embrace an open access model, getting into the communities to talk about how we can involve kids at a young age and help them develop in a European-style setting.”
The USL as a whole has embraced a more European approach to running its leagues. The men’s USL Championship and USL League One seem to at least be considering a promotion and relegation model, according to the league’s website, which reported in August that pro/rel was “top of mind” at the league’s mid-year meetings. USL also recently announced that its new women’s USL SuperLeague will follow the European calendar, starting the season in August and ending it in June with a winter break to avoid some of the worst weather.
Rizzetta said of choosing to launch this new Brooklyn team in USL, “We evaluated MLS Next Pro, but we felt like Brooklyn is such an independent brand and market, it requires a model that’s more independent and less restrictive when it comes to how we develop and trade players, handle sponsorships and jerseys—we didn’t want to feel inhibited or restricted by a closed-door model.”
“This is what motivates me and our group, creating a European style football club in America,” said Rizzetta. “Brooklyn is the ideal market to do that—you look at NYCFC, Red Bull—they’ve done a phenomenal job, but they’re limited in many regards, or restricted by this larger MLS franchise model. With Brooklyn, what you’ll see us do is operate a lot more freely and independently, similar to what you’d see with your favorite European club.”
The track record of non-MLS clubs launching and sustaining themselves in New York City is not great, a history of defunct clubs and false starts that Brooklyn Football Club will have to overcome.
When asked about lessons learned from teams like the 2010s New York Cosmos, or FC New York, or Queensboro FC, Rizzetta said “In the case of Queensboro, it really underscored the importance of having a stadium signed, sealed, delivered, then having a Plan B, Plan C. We spent about a year before even signing on with USL just making sure the stadium was a sure thing for us. We had multiple options, scenarios in case this happened, ‘what are we going to do if this goes wrong?’, and spent about a year making sure our stadium plan was as bulletproof as possible.”
“From a financial standpoint, we want to make sure this is a very sustainable club,” said Rizzetta. “All of our clubs in Europe fortunately are all sustainable economically, and we’re going to make a lot of smart decisions in terms of financing, in terms of player development, recruiting, scouting, all those things, that frankly are really important when it comes to ensuring financial longterm sustainability.”
The shape of the brand-new Brooklyn Football Club is slowly starting to form, and there will be much more to come as New York City’s new USL side gets closer to launching in two years.