Tiago Lopes is back in charge in Harrisburg, as the Harrisburg City Islanders have announced that Lopes is returning to the position of team president.
Lopes previously oversaw the USL’s clubs operations in 2014 and 2015. His return to the post comes as the City Islanders try to set the course for their future, particularly as it relates to a facility.
The club did not use its long-time home, the Skyline Sports Complex, last year, as it had fallen below league standards. As a result, the City Islanders split their home games between two nearby baseball facilities. The adjacent FNB Field, home of the Harrisburg Senators, hosted 10 matches for the City Islanders, with additional contests being played at Clipper Magazine Stadium, the host ballpark of the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Skylines Sports Complex will be idle once again in 2017, with the City Islanders planning to shift all of their home games to FNB Field. Lopes says that, for right now, his focus is on engaging the fan base and building relationships in the community. More from the Central Penn Business Journal:
The Islanders’ ownership had been looking to build a new soccer stadium on City Island. But those plans have not materialized.
Soccer helps the city’s plan to use the baseball stadium more often throughout the year and boost revenue. Harrisburg owns the ballpark.
Lopes said it’s important for the club to continue growing business relationships in the region to help boost its visibility, which will help grow attendance in Harrisburg. He feels there is a lot of renewed energy and good business activity in Harrisburg after years of turmoil surrounding the city’s finances.
“I feel that there a lot of untapped opportunities in this region and we have a mission to go after them to represent Harrisburg at a national scale,” Lopes said. “We have the ingredients to have 6,000 people in that stadium. Why not?”
On the field, the City Islanders had success during Lopes’ previous tenure, including an appearance in the USL Championship in 2014.
Image courtesy Harrisburg City Islanders.