Is Boise The Next Big Soccer City?


Credit: BoiseDev

André Souza, Reporter

Boise’s population has been exploding in the past few years. With the influx of people comes the need for more restaurants, stores, businesses and new entertainment opportunities, including a potential new downtown stadium for the Boise Hawks. It would bring many new jobs to the area and provide a new source of entertainment for sports fans in Boise.

Many people are wary of having a new pro-team because it could be a drain of money on the city. If the team doesn’t have enough fans, that could cause the team to fold, costing the city a lot.

However, the rewards outweigh the risks. Boise was the only city on the U.S. National Indoor Soccer team’s tour to sell out an arena for one game.

In addition, the 2015 Basque exhibition match between Spanish and Mexican soccer teams attracted 21,948 fans to Albertsons Stadium to watch 2 teams from very great distances play each other.

If the soccer team consistently drew numbers of the sort, they would be the second most attended in the second division, the likely spot for the team to end up, and the 8th most attended in the MLS, surpassing teams in cities such as Chicago, San Jose, and even New York.

This potential soccer team would play in the United Soccer Leagues, or USL. “USL holds sway in far more markets than MLS. As a league, USL seems more interested in growing soccer as a sport, rather than growing soccer as a profit engine,” says Nicolas Mendola, an NBC Soccer analyst. The USL has been patient with the city of Boise and Greenstone Properties, the developer, in deciding which site to use for the new stadium. The league has given them until March of 2020 to break ground on both a team and a stadium, so as long as Greenstone, CWI, St. Lukes, and the city of Boise can work things out, Boise will receive a professional soccer team.

Both sites are in prime locations, one at Whitewater Park, which would be the site of the new CWI campus, and one on Americana Boulevard, which is currently used by St. Lukes. St. Luke’s is planning to sell their land downtown, either to CWI, so they can have a satellite campus there, or to Chris Schoen, owner of the Boise Hawks and Greenstone properties, and would-be owner of Boise Pro Soccer. If CWI buys the land, the stadium could be built on Whitewater Park in that big ugly parking lot you pass as you are crossing the river next to Joe’s Crab Shack and onto the freeway.

All sides are in talks to work out a deal, and Chris Schoen says, “We have shared with them exactly where we sit and what advantages the other site might give to us.

We’ve been communicating with them and they’ve agreed to sort of stand by until we can get our hands around which site it is we’re going to ultimately pursue.” ‘Them’ refers to the other three players in the deal.

This team would cost a fair amount of money, as a payment of 1 million dollars is required by Chris Schoen and company to secure a team in the United Soccer Leagues, but the owner of the Boise Hawks is experienced and prepared to bring a professional sport to an unlikely, but ready, state.