Over the past few months, we've learned that the massive Lincoln Yards development will boast a skate park, a climbing wall, an extension of the 606 trail, a relocated Metra station and a variety of public amenities. Now, it's looking like the 70-acre plot of riverside land—which has been proposed as a potential site for Amazon's second headquarters—might also host a new professional soccer team.
Last year, developer Sterling Bay previously unveiled a rendering of a proposed sports stadium, but at the time it was unclear who would be using the new facility. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is forming a joint venture with Sterling Bay to bring United Soccer League expansion team to Chicago, where its home turf would be the development's proposed stadium. The report goes on to state that the team is expected to debut in Chicago in 2021 and will play in an "approximately 20,000-seat stadium that it said is likely to have a retractable roof."
Of course, Chicago already boasts a Major League Soccer team, the Chicago Fire, which plays at Toyota Park (soon to be rechristened SeatGeek Stadium) in the southwest suburb of Bridgeview. The United Soccer League helps develop players that go on play in the MLS and maintains affiliations with several MLS teams. It is unclear if the Chicago Fire, which has its own development team, the Chicago Fire U-23, will be affiliated with Ricketts' USL team.
While diehard Chicago Fire fans will continue to make the trip to Bridgeview, a professional soccer team on the city's North Side will likely appeal to more casual fans of the sport. Plus, if the two teams eventually face off against one another, Chicago will get another version of the infamous Crosstown (County?) Classic.