Nov 23, 2007

Introducing New York City F.C. And The Borough Boys

Talk of a second MLS team in the New York area is about as old as the league itself. Until very recently, talk (more like speculation or gossip) was all it ever amounted to. No longer. In this year's state of the league address, MLS Commissioner Don Garber confirmed that the Wilpon family, owners of the Mets, are indeed seeking a second team for the New York metropolitan area. If I'm not mistaken that was the very first time Garber has publicly acknowledged these efforts.

Enter the Borough Boys, a fledgling fan club and de-facto lobbying organization for the hypothetical team, which they have preemptively named New York City, F.C. Being a NYC resident myself, I was intrigued and was able to locate one of the group's co-founders via the Big Soccer sewing circle. What follows is the outcome of our exchange:

Soccer Source: So tell me about your organization and what it hopes to accomplish.

Borough Boys: Well, The Borough Boys are just a group of soccer fans that want to see a second New York team in Queens. We all met on message boards and were talking about starting something, and so I (Nick Laveglia) decided to take the bull by its horns and officially start a fan club. I could not have done this without the help of Paul Morabito, who has been right there with me from the beginning. We are the co-founders, if you will.

Right now our goal is to stir up enough support for the team that we get recognized by both the league and prospective owners. I feel that if they see support for the idea, it might help them finalize any deal they have on the table.

Why does this area even need a second team, if it is having a hard time supporting the first one--as attendance records seem to suggest?

Most supporters feel that the Red Bulls are not their team. This is probably based on the fact that they have always played in New Jersey. While the Jets and Giants both play in Jersey as well, they also once played games in New York. A lot of New Yorkers have a sense of pride when it comes to the New York, New Jersey dispute.

Also, I feel a large part of the soccer community in this area lives in the Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island area and it would be easier for them to access games on a weekend. While the Meadowlands might only be about 15 miles away, getting there on your average summer weekend for a 4PM or 7PM match can take about 2 hours - even longer if you are from Long Island.

Fair enough. I know from my own experience how taxing the trip to the Swamp can be--and that's from Manhattan! So how are things progressing with your efforts?

Right now we have made little progress as we are only just getting off the ground. I have been able to send letters out to local editors announcing our arrival. Our first meeting was shortly after we started up and sadly it was just Paul and I, but we did not give up. The two of us spoke about the best ways to get our names out there and by using the tools we have available we started making calls and posting on message boards until people realize we are legit.

In the past few weeks we have seen an increase of interest and we hope to have our first FULL meeting after the holiday season to discuss our plans for the 2008 season.

What else is on your agenda in the near term?

We are hoping to be able to reach out to some local development teams to attend their games and get exposure to those supporters as well. As a group we plan on attending Red Bull matches as well as maybe DC matches next season with signs and banners and songs to let not only the league but other fans know who we are and what we want, which is a team within the City limits of New York.

That should be interesting. It brings me to my next question, which is your view on the Red Bulls and what type of relationship, if any, you anticipate having with the team and its fans?

In my opinion, it’s in the New Yorkers nature to have a rivalry between sport teams. This dates back to the ‘50s when the three baseball teams dominated the sport. It was Brooklyn, vs. Queens vs. the Bronx. New York is a sports town but we also thrive on rivalry.

I would expect nothing less than a rivalry both on the field and in the stands. I think this would be a great thing for the league! If you look at the success between the Galaxy and Chivas in Los Angeles, I can only imagine a New York derby being just as intense, if not more.

We respect Red Bull and their supporters. They have a solid organization and have great players in Angel and Altidore. They also have a passionate group of supporters and I really look forward to singing back and forth with them in the stands in the coming years!

Cool. So let's talk about some of the logistical issues facing a second team. For starters, where could this new team play its games, both in the short- and long-term?

With the development of Citi Field and the surrounding area, I think that would be the ideal place for a new stadium. It offers immediate access to major highways, the subways as well as the Long Island Railroad.

How soon can we realistically expect to see a team on the field?

Well, that all depends. If they are waiting for a soccer-specific stadium, I think we are looking at 2011; but if they are fine with having a team play in Citi Field for a season or two, I think 2010 is a very good possibility. It all depends on what the powers that be agree. I just want the powers that be to know that we are here and willing to help them gain support.

There is also the possibility of Shea Stadium. There used to be NFL games there and the infrastructure is already in place. They can remodel the stadium and add seats to where the outfield was and they might be able to convert it. It would probably be quicker and more cost effective than tearing the whole stadium down and rebuilding. It would also keep Shea, which is a Queens landmark!

Thanks for your time. How can people can get in touch with you to learn more and/or to get involved?

The best way for supporters to get in touch with us is by getting on the mailing list at We also have for fans that are on Myspace. Mostly the mailing list is how we count our supporters though.
Thank you for your time!

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