TAMPA, Fla. & DES MOINES, Iowa – The United Soccer League today announced the addition of a USL Championship expansion club in Des Moines, Iowa. With a history of success in the pre-professional ranks, Pro Iowa will serve as the capstone for a youth-to-professional soccer pathway in the state and plans to kick off its inaugural season in 2024.
The club’s majority owner, Kyle Krause, is the longest-tenured owner in the United Soccer League’s ecosystem having presided over the success of current USL League Two club the Des Moines Menace since 1998. For nearly a quarter century, Krause has produced a successful track record of running soccer clubs both domestically and internationally. A two-time title winner, the Menace are the reigning USL League Two champions. Additionally, in 2020 Krause became the owner of Parma Calcio 1913, currently competing in Italy’s Serie B, the second tier of Italian professional soccer.
“It’s an exciting day for the USL Championship,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “Iowa has a rich soccer history, and Pro Iowa will bring a long-awaited national and international spotlight to Des Moines. Kyle Krause’s longtime commitment to the game, the community, and the USL are without equal. He is the very best person to bring professional soccer to Iowa, and the new Pro Iowa Stadium will be a crown jewel not just for the USL, but for soccer in the United States. Krause Group’s experience operating soccer clubs here and in Europe will help this new franchise become a source of great pride for the people of Des Moines and the state of Iowa.”
Pro Iowa owner Kyle Krause and USL COO and Chief Real Estate Officer Justin Papadakis. | Photo courtesy Clay Benjamin / United Soccer League
Krause’s holding company, Krause Group, has a diverse business portfolio that includes - in addition to soccer clubs - convenience retail, wineries and hospitality, real estate and agriculture. His strong business drive and proven leadership led him to the top of Kum & Go L.C., a family-owned convenience store chain founded more than 60 years ago that has over 400 locations in 11 different states, over 5,000 employees and generates $2.5 billion in revenue annually, and is now a staple in the Krause Group portfolio.
The professional USL Championship club will play its home matches at the Pro Iowa Stadium. Located alongside Global Plaza, the stadium is part of a $535 million development project that will create a multi-use district in Des Moines. Upon completion, the 65-acre site will feature over one million square feet of commercial space, multi-unit housing, community green space, and the sports and entertainment venue.
“This announcement has been years in the making,” said Kyle Krause. “We’re thrilled to bring a new professional soccer club here with USL. This is a great opportunity to add another enticing benefit to living in central Iowa. We are excited to showcase Des Moines on a national and international stage. We could not have done this without the foundation laid by Iowa’s soccer community. The support for and success of the Menace has been a key factor in creating the right environment to support a USL Championship club.”
The new club’s permanent crest and brand will come to life in the months ahead through a series of listening sessions, utilizing input of community members and soccer fans, who will play a vital role in the development process.