TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League today announced the awarding of a new USL Championship franchise to a local investment group in Milwaukee, Wis.
The club, led by local investors Kacmarcik Enterprises and Milwaukee Pro Soccer, will begin play in 2025 and will serve as the primary tenant of a new, 8,000-seat stadium to be constructed in the transformative sports and entertainment district called Iron District MKE.
The new club will be the first professional outdoor soccer team in Milwaukee in more than two decades. Its founding reinforces Jim Kacmarcik’s belief in the state of Wisconsin as a soccer hotbed, following his investment as lead owner of Forward Madison FC, which plays in USL League One.
Justin Papadakis, COO and Chief Real Estate Officer, USL: “We are thrilled to welcome Milwaukee to the USL Championship and look forward to seeing the city’s vibrant soccer community fill their new stadium week in and week out. The Iron District MKE project is truly unique and transformative for the city, and we are proud that the USL will be a part of it. Based on what we’ve seen in Madison, we know the new Milwaukee club will be a top-tier soccer organization, providing best-in-class facilities for its players, a world-class soccer experience for its fans, and a commitment to having a positive community impact.”
Jim Kacmarcik, Chairman and CEO, Kacmarcik Enterprises: “This is an announcement we’ve been working towards behind the scenes for years, and I’m thrilled to bring high-level professional soccer to the city of Milwaukee. Milwaukee is a premier sports city with a rich soccer culture that runs deep throughout our community. This club, and the entire Iron District MKE project, share an ambitious vision of making a positive impact on the city of Milwaukee, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Iron District MKE, announced earlier this year by Kacmarcik Enterprises and Bear Development, is an ambitious project that, in addition to the stadium, includes a 3,500-seat indoor concert venue, a 140-unit residential component, boutique hotel, and dining, nightlife, and retail operations.
Construction is due to begin later this year.
The project has received tremendous support from the local community, which welcomes the commitment from Milwaukee Pro Soccer, Iron District MKE, and the USL to develop a project that will contribute in a meaningful way to the culture and health of downtown Milwaukee.
In addition to the future Milwaukee Pro Soccer USL Championship franchise, the Iron District stadium will serve as the home for the Marquette University men’s and women’s soccer teams and lacrosse teams.
Dr. Michael R. Lovell, President, Marquette University: “It was important to us to sell the land for the Iron District to a strategic partner that would revitalize this high-profile corridor within Milwaukee’s Westown neighborhood. Together with Milwaukee Pro Soccer, the USL, Kacmarick Enterprises and Bear Development, we are accomplishing that. The legacy we are building will be transformational to Milwaukee and to Marquette, and it will create invaluable opportunities for the region as well as Marquette’s student-athletes and fans. We look forward to all that this USL Championship franchise will do for our community.”