Louisville City FC president says new stadium is integral part o - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville City FC president says new stadium is integral part of MLS aspirations

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Juan Guzman puts Louisville City up 1-0 against with a shot from the top of the box on an assist from Matt Fondy against Rochester on April 16, 2015. Juan Guzman puts Louisville City up 1-0 against with a shot from the top of the box on an assist from Matt Fondy against Rochester on April 16, 2015.
9,434 fans showed up to cheer on Louisville City FC against Orlando City SC (Photo by Eric Crawford). 9,434 fans showed up to cheer on Louisville City FC against Orlando City SC (Photo by Eric Crawford).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new study says Louisville needs a stadium made for soccer if the sport is going to continue growing in the city.

The study, paid for by the city of Louisville, was conducted by the firm Convention, Sports & Leisure.

Louisville City FC currently plays at Slugger Field, but this new study calls for a soccer-specific stadium that can hold 10,000 fans.

In the team's inaugural 2015 season, attendance averaged more than 7,000 fans per game, the second-highest among 24 United Soccer League teams and more than double the league average attendance.

The study calls for the new stadium to be built by 2020 but didn't recommend a location. It would cost between $30 million and $50 million.

Team president Amanda Duffy says it'll be a long process, but they're mapping out ideas for private and public funding as well as evaluating potential sites.

"This is a sport where we can get to a major league level, and with the soccer-specific stadium, bringing that here is going to be an integral piece of that," Duffy said.

Louisville City's attendance this season ranks third out of the 24 USL teams.

"We're thrilled with the results and feedback and recommendations that this study has offered to Mayor Fisher's office, to the Louisville leaders, and the Louisville City ownership," Duffy said.

A few months back, Metro Councilman Dan Johnson sponsored an ordinance that would pave the way to build a stadium near Champions Park near Zorn Avenue and I-71.

Digging deeper into the study, only 15 out of the 29 United Soccer League teams play in soccer-specific stadiums.

The study also found that the majority of season ticket holders live within 10 miles of Slugger Field, suggesting a stadium location near the downtown area would be best.

In the past five years, five soccer-specific stadiums have been built in USL markets, ranging in cost from $4 million to $25 million.

Louisville's population of 1.7 million people ranks 19th highest among the 26 U.S-based USL markets.

"I think the way the sport is growing in the city, that even if (Louisville City) wasn't around forever, that stadium being soccer-specific could be utilized in so many different ways," said Louisville City fan Tom Farmer.

Read the full study below:

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