As you might have heard, we recently were awarded the rights to an expansion professional soccer club in Brooklyn. It has been quite surreal for me personally, so I wanted to shed some light on the path that led us to this point. The road to Brooklyn might seem easy, but it has been an intense process that has tested my patience, fortitude and discipline as an entrepreneur. It all started three years ago.
My first entrée into professional soccer was in 2020 when we invested in Campobasso Football Club. It was the height of the pandemic and I decided to fulfill a lifelong dream to become an owner in an Italian football club from a city nearby to where my grandparents immigrated.
There was no FX deal, there was no TikTok on our jerseys, there were no ticket revenues since the stadiums were shut down to fans. There was nothing chic or en vogue about our club. It was all risk.
Everything worked out thankfully. That little team has been promoted twice, we have started to gain commercial success as a result, and just recently we became one of only a dozen teams in all Italian football to secure a stadium sponsor. Most importantly, thanks to our great partners, we have brought visibility to a region that is one of the poorest and most overlooked in Italy. I believe we will be in the top-flights of Italian football over the next decade, and if it doesn’t happen, it damn sure won’t be for lack of trying.
Campobasso has enabled me to relive the magical moments of my childhood. Every time we take the pitch it brings back memories of Sunday mornings on my grandfather’s lap watching Serie A while my grandmother made espresso in the kitchen.
Along the way, we joined the ownership group of Ascoli FC in 2021, adding it to our portfolio as our second European club. With one of the lowest payrolls in Serie B, we made the playoffs and were a few wins away from reaching Serie A, the pinnacle of Italian football.
But at heart I am a New Yorker and my vision has always been to recreate the uniqueness and beauty of European football in my backyard.
Two years ago, we began sketching out a vision to bring elite European-style professional football to Brooklyn. It was a vision to create a melting pot club in the most iconic melting pot metropolis in the world. We would recruit talent from all continents and create a true neighborhood club that would be a source of pride for everyone who identifies with Brooklyn. It would be Brooklyn’s club. Our thesis was simple. There is no place in the US that is more equipped to serve as the home of international soccer than Brooklyn.
It was at this time that we began speaking with the top league executives and officials in US Soccer, and once NYCFC decided to build in Queens, we knew we had the opportunity of a lifetime. Brooklyn was wide open and we finally had a clear path to build our vision.
We are surrounded by amazing people on this project, but we are not naïve. The road ahead will have many challenges. Just getting to this point was difficult enough. Countless meetings that seemed they were going nowhere, negotiations that ended in stalemates, continual logistical dead-ends and site visits that ended in rejection. We must have walked away from this deal at least a dozen times. But the love of our city and the unwavering belief that Brooklyn can be a model home for the future of soccer in our country always led us back.
You will hear more in the coming months as we start putting our plan into action, but for now just a few things to point out:
- Our club name and branding will be introduced later this summer along with other exciting news.
- We already have multiple venues ready for approval, and believe our fans are going to love the experience. We are obsessed with creating an intimate, neighborhood, European-style atmosphere right in the heart of Brooklyn.
- Our goal is to play at the highest level of USL. We put our money where our mouths are and negotiated the ability to move up if we hit certain goals, including attendance and others. Simply put, we are betting on Brooklyn coming out to support us, and if that happens, we will play at the highest level available to us.
- We have a world-class management team and technical staff lined up already. We hope to announce the first string of hires later this year, including front office executives from the world’s most recognizable clubs in the Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga.
It is an honor to be representing the world’s borough on this project. There will be many challenges on the road ahead, but we believe in Brooklyn, and we believe in the fighting spirit that the people who identify with Brooklyn represent.
We are ready and can’t wait to get started.
Een Draght Mackt Maght (In Unity There Is Strength),