Cary, NC – For many years, WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary has been the home of the Carolina RailHawks and now North Carolina FC. Now the team has revealed the location for a new, larger stadium to be built in conjunction with their MLS franchise bid.
New Stadium Downtown
Back in December, team owner Steve Malik unveiled the new plan to rebrand the Carolina RailHawks as North Carolina FC and the plan to get the team an MLS franchise, letting it compete in the highest-tier soccer league in North America. But as part of this bid, the team needed a larger stadium to be able to accommodate 24,000 to 26,000 fans.
This week, with Major League Soccer President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott visiting the region, Malik unveiled Downtown Raleigh as the new location of the stadium. Specifically, somewhere within the State Government Complex that lies between Peace, Lane and Salisbury Street.
“This is another important step in our pursuit of a Major League Soccer Franchise,” Malik said. “Our vision is to make this facility a crown jewel for downtown Raleigh, providing a world-class sporting and social experience for fans and the community.”
Soccer in Cary
Until the stadium’s completion, North Carolina FC will continue to play at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. And currently, plans are still in place for the North Carolina Courage to continue their games at the Cary arena. Additionally, Malik has said in the past that NCFC’s training will continue to be at WakeMed Soccer Park, while operations will be run out of his MedFusion building, also in Cary.
In the plan unveiled at the Wednesday, July 19, 2017 press conference, the Downtown Raleigh stadium will not only have the stands and arena for games but will include office and retail space as well.
According to a report by NCFC and Economic Leadership LLC, the new stadium will generate $2.8 billion for North Carolina over the next 17 years due to new jobs, economic activity and tax revenue generated.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of Luis Trinh Nava and North Carolina FC.