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Buffalo Pro Soccer Unveils Plans to Bring Highest Levels of USL Professional Soccer to Buffalo

By Staff, 03/28/24, 12:00PM EDT


Soccer executive Peter Marlette, Jr. of Buffalo to bring a USL Championship club to hometown by 2026; exclusive agreement with USL sets stage for new stadium development

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Western New York native and experienced sports executive Peter Marlette, Jr., today announced the formation of Buffalo Pro Soccer – a group that plans to bring a USL Championship club to Buffalo by 2026 through an exclusive partnership with United Soccer League (USL).

As President of Buffalo Pro Soccer, Marlette will work alongside club ownership, elected officials, community leaders, business partners, strategic advisors, and the USL to bring the highest levels of USL professional soccer to Western New York. Over the past several months, Marlette has been actively meeting and engaging with local officials and sports leaders to gain insights that will shape the professional soccer club in his hometown.

“Given soccer’s incredible growth trajectory in the United States, it’s time that Buffalo — one of America’s most passionate sports cities — joins the movement with its own professional club,” said Peter Marlette, Jr., President of Buffalo Pro Soccer. “This club will represent the hard work, resilience, innovation, and pride that our community is known for. I’m committed to building a winning USL Championship club and I look forward to collaborating with everyone who believes in Buffalo. Together, we’ll write a new chapter in our city's vibrant civic and sports history.”

Marlette is a Buffalo native who played five seasons with FC Buffalo. He served the past three years as General Manager of Union Omaha, the 2021 USL League One champions and winners of two regular season titles. He previously worked in business development for FC Dallas of Major League Soccer.

The United Soccer League (USL) is shaping the future of soccer in America as the first to build complete youth-to-pro pathways for men and women in one ecosystem. With teams in more than 200 communities across the country, the USL has emerged as one of the world’s fastest growing and most respected sports organizations.

“Buffalo is home to some of the most fervent and proud sports fans in the world, and we know they will embrace and support a professional soccer club of their own,” USL Deputy CEO Justin Papadakis said. “Peter Marlette is a Buffalo soccer product with experience at all levels of the game and a deep commitment to the community he calls home. With his leadership, a growing, diverse population of young professionals, and a pent-up demand for the global game, Buffalo is poised to create a flagship club during this transformative moment in American soccer.”  

In 2024, the USL Championship features 24 men’s professional teams each playing a 34-game regular season from March to October and is the only league with U.S. Soccer’s Division II sanctioning. USL Championship teams average nearly 6,000 fans per game with teams such as Louisville City SC, New Mexico United, Sacramento Republic, and Indy Eleven regularly drawing more than 10,000. When Buffalo Pro Soccer kicks off its first season in the USL Championship, a Great Lakes rivalry may emerge as it faces established clubs like the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and Detroit City FC.

In addition to bringing professional soccer to Western New York, Buffalo Pro Soccer is focused on developing an authentic soccer stadium that also offers opportunities for a variety of community and entertainment events. Buffalo Pro Soccer’s vision for the stadium project underlines its broader goal of providing a long-term, holistic community asset. As a city well known for pre-game celebrations of its other pro sports teams, Buffalo Pro Soccer is determined to provide an exciting and unique matchday experience. Buffalo Pro Soccer will explore all viable options for a stadium site before one is selected.

While the club’s initial focus is on launching its USL Championship men’s team, Buffalo Pro Soccer also intends to pursue a professional women’s soccer team in the USL Super League, which launches in August with Division I sanctioning. This phased approach will help accelerate the club’s path to kicking off its first season in the USL Championship as it continues to galvanize local support for the eventual launch of the women’s team. 

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and his staff have expressed support for Buffalo Pro Soccer, as they consult with Marlette on potential stadium sites.

“This is an exciting time for sports in Buffalo. I commend Peter Marlette, the president of Buffalo Pro Soccer, for his plans to bring United Soccer League professional soccer to our city,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. “Buffalo is known worldwide as a great city for sports, and this will add to our reputation. I wish Buffalo Pro Soccer the best of luck.”

FC Buffalo Owner and President Nick Mendola also backs the initiative. The FC Buffalo men’s team currently plays in USL League Two, a national amateur league sanctioned as Division IV by U.S. Soccer.

“For nearly 15 years, FC Buffalo has worked collaboratively with Western New York’s soccer fans to build a community where the sport can thrive,” said Nick Mendola, President of FC Buffalo. “Seeing the powerful growth of the USL Championship from our vantage point at the highest level of amateur soccer in USL League Two, we seek to work closely with Buffalo Pro Soccer to create pathways from the youth fields of Western New York to the grandest stages of global soccer. This is an important and exciting step forward that builds on the foundation we've laid in growing Buffalo’s passion for the game.”

Buffalo Pro Soccer is actively recruiting supporters, partners, and potential investors. In the months ahead, an extensive listening campaign will gather perspectives throughout the community to help inform and define the club’s brand, name, and colors.

To get involved and join the movement, visit and sign up to stay updated on the latest club developments. Buffalo Pro Soccer will launch its social media presence in the coming weeks and continue sharing updates and engaging with the community.

“I've had a goal of bringing a professional soccer team to Buffalo for as long as I can remember. I moved back to Buffalo to dedicate my full time and effort to realizing that goal for the city, and I am so proud to see this vision finally taking shape,” added Marlette. “Soccer's surge in popularity is undeniable, and Buffalo is an ideal market for a professional soccer team. With the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, the timing couldn't be better. I urge all of Buffalo to be a part of the club – sign up on our website for the latest updates and to help us build the future of professional soccer in our city.”

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