The reason for all the upgrades to Madison’s Breese Stevens Field is now officially announced, as Big Top Soccer will be launching a USL DIII team there in 2019.
It’s the fourth team for USL DIII, which will begin play next season. The league is positioned as the third level in the U.S. soccer pyramid, below Division I MLS and Division II USL.
Big Top Soccer is led by Vern Stenman, Conor Caloia, Jim Kacmarcik and Steve Schmitt.
Stenman and Caloia both oversee the management of the Madison Mallards, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, Kenosha Kingfish and Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League, as well as Big Top Events, which manages Breese Stevens Field. Kacmarcik currently serves as president of Kapco, Inc., a diverse group of businesses based in Grafton, Wisconsin. Kacmarcik is also the president and majority owner of the Northwoods League’s Lakeshore Chinooks and is an active member of the Milwaukee Bucks local investor group as a minority owner of the team.
“Wisconsin is the second largest state in the country by population without an outdoor pro soccer team. The chance to launch this team in Madison is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said the Big Top Soccer ownership group in a statement. “We’re confident this team will become a loved part of the Madison community, and we can’t wait to start working with the entire community to ensure we develop a team we can all be proud of.”
Peter Wilt, the original president and GM of MLS’s Chicago Fire and a key player in the launch of Indy Eleven (formerly of the NASL, now of the USL), will serve as managing director.
Earlier this week the city of Madison agreed to a capital improvement plan for Breese Stevens Field that will include $1.3 million for soccer-related facility improvements. The agreement will run through 2028, with a mutual option that could extend it to 2033. Big Top’s original agreement from 2015 was to run through 2022, and included a five-year mutual option. In its current form, Breese Stevens Field is used for multiple types of events, including concerts and amateur soccer, but the use agreement and facility upgrades are intended to make it suitable for professional soccer.
Image courtesy Breese Stevens Field.