An effort to launch a Portland USL League One club is underway, as a local group is working to obtain an expansion team.
USL League One officials were in the Maine city on Wednesday, meeting with a series of stakeholders that include Gabe Hoffman-Johnson. Hoffman-Johnson and local real estate developer Jonathan Culley are founding members of the ownership group for the potential club, which they are planning to brand as Portland United.
Thus far, USL League One has confirmed that Portland is on its radar as a possible expansion market and Hoffman-Johnson and Culley will continue their due diligence locally. There are still some tasks that would have to be finalized in order for the club to move forward, including adding to the local ownership group and coming up with a facility plan. More from the Portland Press Herald:
Culley said if Fitzpatrick [Stadium], or some other existing site, had been appropriate, the club might have pushed to begin play by next spring. The USL League 1 schedule runs from late March to early October, followed by playoffs.
“As it is, we’d love to be playing in 2021,” Culley said. “And to be clear, I don’t think USL approval is the biggest impediment. They like our market and are looking to expand.
“Our biggest obstacle is going to be finding a place to play. Gabe has done a great job connecting with potential people to join the ownership group.”
Portland City Manager Jon Jennings said the city is “happy to work with the owners of the potential team and see what role the city can have,” but added that enlarging the turf at Fitzpatrick Stadium is not an option.
USL League One launched this spring as a Division III circuit with 10 teams.