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Yankees To Co-Own New MLS Franchise

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TWC News: Yankees To Co-Own New MLS Franchise
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It's been years in the making, and now, a Major League Soccer team will officially call the city home beginning in 2015. But there are issues still left to work out, including just where this new team will play. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

Coming in two years: New York City F.C., as in Football Club, as in what the rest of the world calls the sport we know as soccer.

NYCFC will be Major League Soccer's 20th team. It will be owned by the group that controls English powerhouse Manchester City and, in a surprising twist, the minority owners will be the Yankees.

"The development of soccer in the U.S., we are enthusiastic about this," said Ferran Soriano, the CEO of Manchester City Football Club. "We believe soccer has developed very good in the last years, but the best is yet to come."

"We're a good local partner because we know New York City," said Yankees President Randy Levine. "We've been doing business here for a long time. We know how things work."

The owners paid a $100 million expansion fee to MLS. The league's commissioner, Don Garber, who is a New York native, said this is a huge step forward for his sport.

"It's a great statement about where soccer is in America, and the bullishness that the sporting world has about Major League Soccer," Garber said.

The biggest outstanding issue is where the club will play. The possibilities for a temporary home include Yankee Stadium, but the league has been working for months to put a permanent stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Some community advocates object that it will take away park land, so the new owners say they'll at least consider other possible sites around the city.

"The first thing that we will do is listen to people, listen to the communities, and be sure that we find a place to build a stadium that can be a home and that New Yorkers feel proud of," Soriano said.

People opposed to a stadium in the park said they like the way that sounds, but were still cautious.

"Proof is going to be in the pudding, right?" said Javier Valdes of the Fairness Coalition of Queens. "So let's see if they're really going to engage us, and they really have a conversation about a different location."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, though, still stands behind the Flushing Meadows plan.

"I've always thought that the stadium in Flushing Meadows Park is the right place to put it," he said.

No matter where they play, the owners are guaranteeing that the team will follow in the footsteps of the Yankees and Manchester City and be championship caliber.

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