New England Soccer Today

Somerville Stadium Talks Continue

Updated 10/3/2012 at 3:12 p.m.

Revere and the former Wonderland Greyhound Park have grabbed the headlines lately as a potential future home for a New England Revolution soccer stadium, but New England Soccer Today has learned Somerville remains a possibility with a new potential location of its own.

Somerville originally appeared in the news nearly five years ago with the Inner Belt/Brickbottom area as the proposed stadium location. Now, Assembly Square has emerged as a new option.

“The conversations have continued — in a preliminary way with no formal proposals being issued — with the Revolution about the potential of having a stadium here in Somerville,” said Thomas Champion Executive Director of Communications for Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “In 2007-2008 the discussions were about Inner Belt/Brickbottom area of Somerville.

“Now discussions are about Assembly Square where construction is underway on an Orange line MBTA stop. The location is also close to the Green Line. We’re open to [a stadium there] but we have to see the details.”

With the Assembly Square MBTA Orange Line stop looking at a fall 2014 opening — as well as the fairly close proximity of the Green Line — the potential site would fulfill the Revolution’s hopes of building a stadium accessible by public transit. That access is a key to the Revolution’s interest in the Assembly Square location.

“I can confirm that we are still in communication with Somerville officials about potential stadium locations in their city, including the possibility of a facility in Assembly Square, which is an attractive site for development with its significant transportation infrastructure and proximity to downtown Boston,” said New England Revolution president Brian Bilello, in a statement to New England Soccer Today on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

But, any final decision would have to serve the interests of both the Kraft Sporting Group and the City of Somerville.

“The Revolution are going to make the best business decision they possibly can about how to create a stadium in the long run,” said Champion. “It’s clear they need a kind of location with good transit access and good highway access and the financial resources to be a good partner. It’s clear anyone who wants to work with the Revolution has to look at how it will improve their commercial tax base and strengthen their ability to invest in services such as schools, public safety, etc.”

As for Revere, talks may be a bit more in depth, but with much of that plan seemingly hinging on a casino such a scenario could come to a crashing halt. A casino isn’t part of the Assembly Square plans, but certainly no shortage of other details would need to be worked out to make a soccer specific stadium a reality.

“The Revolution are exploring a number of options, including the site at Revere,” Champion said. “They’ve reportedly entered into discussions with [Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo], but there are a lot of things that need to break the right way in terms of a casino. [Mayor Curtatone’s] door remains open to having further discussion.”

New England is one of just five MLS teams without firm plans for a soccer specific stadium. Thirteen MLS teams currently have their own soccer specific stadiums, while a 14th, the San Jose Earthquakes, will break ground on their stadium this month. Three of the remaining five are expansion clubs founded within the last four years, leaving D.C. United and the Revolution as the only MLS original franchises without their own soccer specific stadiums.

While the Revolution have been exploring options for a new stadium for several years, the club now has at least two promising possibilities in Revere and Somerville. Now it’s up to the team to decide if either possibility makes sense.

As for Somerville, they certainly aren’t betting the city’s future on a soccer stadium coming to fruition.

“The critical thing from our standpoint is Assembly Square wouldn’t need a stadium to be successful,” said Champion. “The strength of Assembly Square as a retail location has already been confirmed and the area will be successful with our without a stadium.”

 

Assembly Square: (Key: Blue = General Area of Assembly Square, Yellow = Assembly Square MBTA [Orange Line, under construction], Green = Lechmere MBTA [Green Line])

View Assembly Square in a larger map

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14 Comments

  1. Chris B

    October 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I guess it’s good the Revs aren’t putting all of their eggs in one basket. This would be a great site as well as Revere.

  2. W Peter Jones

    October 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Hi there, at least the revs have all there eggs in a basket the Somerville location look like a water view location? it has a more of a central location to the city of Boston,.A TRUE soccer supporter would travel any where to see there team,When I attended the Milan game Inter& AC a few years ago there were people coming from Canada to see the game &, there are Revs fans travelling from NH for every home games ?????????????????

  3. Chris B

    October 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Aside from all this SSS talk, I wanna give a shout-out to NE Soccer Today for the great coverage, quotes and information regrading the potential SSS situations! You guys are awesome!

  4. Garrett

    October 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I live near assembly square and can say it would be perfect. It’s funny that just a week ago I was in assembly square and said to myself how perfect it would be knowing the revs had previously looked into somerville. One thing is I have to ask Sean about SSS in MLS becuase the way I see it only 4 teams don;t have SSS (Revs, DC, Caps, and Sounders) and of those 4 the caps and sounders stadiums were built with soccer designs in mind. Such as the retractable ceiling in BC Place to make it an intimate 20,000. So in reality I would say only DC and the Revs play in stadiums that weren’t designed for (at least in part) for soccer. Even then DC with its new owners have become extremely vocal in finding a new location and have been fairly public. Which in the end making it all the more frustrating knowing that before we finally get our stadium a 20th team in new york will be able to construct their own stadium and create a team from scratch before us, an adopter gets our own stadium. When all is said in done and we have our brand new SSS in 2016 I’m sure it will be incredible by then, but we will be the last to make it to MLS 2.0 and by then could already be behind in making it into MLS 3.0!

    • Sean Donahue

      October 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Although Jeld-Wen Field (Portland) is an ideal size for an MLS team and has undergone a renovation to make it more appropriate for the Timbers, it was built for and is still used for college football.

      • DemonJuice

        October 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

        It has always been very much multi-purpose and not perfectly configured for anything. First dog racing then baseball and now soccer. College and high school football have always been secondary tenants or one-off evens.

        • DemonJuice

          October 6, 2012 at 11:29 am

          *one-off events

  5. rick sewall

    October 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Do they play baseball there in Portland also? I saw a game several years ago and it looked familiar.

    • Sean Donahue

      October 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      They did in the past, but haven’t since the renovations.

    • DemonJuice

      October 6, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Remember this?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_V5z95lBZ8

      That was at JELD-WEN Field (then called PGE Park).

  6. Ned

    October 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    A SSS at Assembly Square would a dream-come-true after years and years of waiting.

    I think the vast majority of folks would much prefer Somerville over Revere.

    • Somtom

      November 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

      not the residents of Somerville…

      • K

        February 9, 2014 at 2:20 am

        Speak for yourself

  7. Andrew

    November 4, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Somerville vs. Revere kind of reminds me of the Foxboro vs. Hartford — my guess (and hope) is that Kraft is using Revere in the same way he used Hartford. …In light of Hurricane Sandy, the Krafts should consider the long-term risk of flooding damage in either the Wonderland or Assembly Square sites. Both seem pretty susceptible to storm surges. That said, I have no doubt that Revs could fill up either stadium on a consistent basis and Krafts would see a nice return on their investment.

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