United Soccer League bringing expansion club to Naples

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

Naples is getting in the game with the newest League One club to the United Soccer League. And the wait won’t be long. The team takes the pitch in 2025.

“Soccer overall has an amazing family feel,” USL Naples CEO Roberto Moreno said. “You go to any soccer game. It’s full of families full of kids full of people having fun so I think it’s just meant to be here in Southwest Florida.”

Bringing the club to town has been in the works for years, with talks picking up the last two years once the Paradise Coast Sports Complex was up and running. Wednesday’s announcement comes at a perfect time for Collier County.

“We’re seeing so many friends and colleagues that just want to live here,” USL Deputy CEO and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis said. “And so having this you know the new population moving down is so important. But one thing especially with millennials and Gen Zs is having a pro sports team close to home.”

Soccer’s popularity has grown all over Southwest Florida with expansion clubs from USL to MLS Next making Naples and Fort Myers respectively home.

USL Naples aims to fuel even more growth with plans of an academy and the goal of providing a way to the professional ranks.

“It’s really hard for the game to reach the level it can without being able to see it week in week out,” Papadakis said. “So now families and the youth players can see what professional soccer looks like.”

“I think offering that ability from the pathway from youth to pro so people can come to the area, train in the area and stay and play in the area for many years to come,” USL League One President Lee O’Neill said.

What could fans expect when they pack the stands in 2025?

“We’re going to institute a philosophy of fast-paced play,” Moreno said. “We’ll recruit players both locally internationally and nationally around the country to start building the squad.”

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