Jan 28, 2022 - News

Des Moines lands a professional soccer team

Illustration of a soccer ball wearing a party hat, surrounded by confetti.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

It's official. After years of speculation, Pro Iowa officials announced late Thursday that Des Moines is getting a United Soccer League Championship team.

Why it matters: It'll be Iowa's first club to compete in the USL Championship, a Division II professional men's soccer league that boasts a reach of 84 million people.

Catch up fast: Kyle Krause, Kum and Go's former CEO, has wanted to bring professional soccer to Iowa for more than a decade.

  • Pro Iowa and Krause+ — the real estate arm of Kum & Go — have been working to build the 6,300-seat stadium at the Dico Superfund site near 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
  • Demolition of the vacant steel wheel and pesticides factory buildings was completed last year.
  • Environmental cleanup and monitoring will continue, and construction is expected to launch in coming months.

Of note: More than $50 million has been secured for the stadium project, including $23.5 million from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

  • Local governments have pledged at least $5 million and there's nearly $25 million in private fundraising headed by the Iowa Soccer Development Foundation, the fundraising arm of Pro Iowa.

What they're saying: Krause told Axios that preliminary agreements for the soccer club have been in the works for years, but were contingent on the stadium project's success.

  • He said both the stadium and the team position Iowa to be a leader in soccer, a sport that's rapidly growing in popularity.

What to watch: Justin Papadakis, USL's chief operating officer, told Axios to expect global interest linked with the league's regular broadcasts on ESPN channels.

What's ahead: The new club's players will be poised for kickoff starting in 2024.

  • In the meantime, Pro Iowa is sourcing names, a crest and other branding ideas for the team.

Got input? Submit your thoughts via the online survey.

A photo of a proposed Des Moines soccer stadium.
Construction of the Pro Iowa Stadium will begin this year in downtown Des Moines. Rendering courtesy of Pro Iowa
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