Councilman demands a ‘Queens’ name for a new soccer team, and consideration of Citi Field as its home
Major League Soccer wants to bring a professional soccer team to Queens, which one Queens councilman might welcome, on the condition that the team have an appropriately local name.
"Whatever happens, if we bring a soccer team to Queens, whether it be at Citi Field or a new stadium, that soccer team must be called 'the Queens' whatever," said Peter Vallone Jr., a Democrat from Astoria. "Like there's the Brooklyn Nets. I want a 'Queens' team."
Vallone's district does not encompass Flushing Meadows Corona Park, where the league would like to build a new, 25,000-seat arena. But he's running for Queens borough president this year, and has recently begun to speak out about the league's plans.
Some of his ideas are somewhat more serious than the Markowitzy bit of boosterism about the team name.
Last week, Vallone told reporters that the league should consider having the team play in Citi Field, which is apparently a possiblity that the Mets are open to.
It's an arrangement that would keep the league from getting the soccer-only stadium it's looking for, but which would on the other hand provide all the accessibility of a new stadium in the park without taking away parkland or entailing most of the other complications that go along with building new stadiums in cities.
"We’ve got a state-of-the-art new stadium, which was built with taxpayer assistance, sitting a stone’s throw from where they want to build another stadium in a park," Vallone told me today, referring to Citi Field. "And before that happens, I think we absolutely have to discuss why we can't use that stadium."
Major League Soccer dismissed Vallone's idea out of hand.
The league also had no comment on whether the new team would have "Queens" in its name.