Professional soccer in Pawtucket: One step closer
Huge strides were taken in bringing a professional soccer team to Rhode Island, when on Aug. 12, official groundbreaking commenced at the Tidewater Landing project. This monumental moment was headed by former MLS and USMNT player, as well as Cranston, Rhode Island native Michael Parkhurst.
The Providence-born defensive back enjoyed an early career with the New England Revolution, where he won Rookie of the Year in 2005, and Best Defender of the Year in 2007. Parkhurst’s career eventually took him away from New England. His career after playing in the Northeast included stops in Denmark, Germany, Columbus, Ohio, and Atlanta, Georgia – where he captained the team to an MLS cup win in 2018. Parkhurst joined Fortuitous Partners, the financial backers of this stadium, in 2019 after retiring from Atlanta United.
The development is set to include a 7,500 seat stadium. This stadium will be a home to a professional soccer team that would compete in the USL Championship, as well as housing and retail spaces that are yet to be determined. The new construction development sits right on the banks of the Seekonk River, and comes with high expectations of helping both tourism, and the local economy.
“We will be one of the most respected clubs in North America and serve as champions for Rhode Islanders, on and off the pitch. But our legacy will go beyond the game, and truly be what we are building together with the city of Pawtucket and state of Rhode Island in Tidewater Landing, a catalyst project for all who live here,” said Brett Johnson, founder of Fortuitous Partners.
Gov. Dan McKee, who casted a controversial tie-breaking vote to approve the plans for this project, was present for the ceremony as well.
“This is a project that’s going to create a new destination in The Ocean State,” said McKee. “We will become the bucket-list state, people will put Rhode Island and The Ocean State on their list, to visit, to invest here, to spend their dollars here to create an economy that will go throughout the whole state.”
The stadium is scheduled to be completed by 2024. Team owners Parkhurst and Johnson are finalizing the branding of the team. This includes the team colors, official name and club badge.
The official Rhode Island Pro Soccer social media pages (@RI_ProSoccer) have ensured that the community will have input during this process. Measures that are being taken include issuing surveys, hosting zoom calls and inviting fans to several local speaking events in order to ensure that their voice is heard.
Those involved remain hopeful that the team will be available to kick off their inaugural season the same year that the rest of the development is finished.