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If Boston gets a women's pro soccer team again, White Stadium in Franklin Park could be its home

James Hill and Michelle Wu

James Hills and Michelle Wu discussing city issues this morning.

A group of women investors that includes the Globe's Linda Henry has put in a bid for an expansion slot in the National Women's Soccer League.

On Java with Jimmy this morning, Mayor Wu said the group and the city are looking at White Stadium in Franklin Park as a potential home for the new team, should Boston beat out San Francisco and Tampa, because it can potentially seat 10,000 fans.

Wu said Memorial Stadium in East Boston is also a possibility, but it only has a capacity of about 4,300.

Wu said she's a big fan of the idea of bringing women's pro soccer back to Boston - an earlier team, the Breakers, folded in 2018 - both because American women soccer players have consistently proven themselves among the best athletes in the world and because of the potential for both upgrading the slowly deteriorating White Stadium, which is owned by Boston Public Schools, and the possibilities for partnerships and other benefits for BPS school sports, which she said desperately need a boost.

"This is a city where we should have a professional women's soccer team," she said.

Sportico reports the cost of the winning bid for a team that would start in the 2024 season could be around $40 million.

Wu said Boston will not repeat the mistakes of "big and shiny" sports proposals in the past and will ensure a pro team at White Stadium will either not displace existing BPS student activities there or harm nearby residents. The last proposal to renovate the stadium came during Boston's failed Olympic bid, when Boston 2024 proposed using it for equestrian events and part of the pentathlon, an event designed to simulate a 19th-century solider trying to escape from behind enemy lines.

"Boston will only do this if we are sure this will represent a huge step forward" in terms of resources and partnership to help Boston students and not lead to displacement, she said.

In addition to the Globe, Henry is also co-owner of the Liverpool soccer team with her husband John.

The Globe reported that in addition to Henry, local investors putting up money for a piece of the potential team include Jennifer Epstein, founder of Anna Palmer, a general partner at Flybridge Capital.

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Comments

Not like the games would creat much vehicle traffic.

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This would be a great location to watch some high quality women's soccah.

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This seems like a very reasonable ask, especially if the City could get White Stadium rebuilt without having to foot the whole bill.

One potential issue might be transportation. There are a number of bus lines near the stadium, but it's more than half a mile from the nearest T stop, and there are not very many parking spaces nearby. Too bad the MTA ripped out the trolley tracks which used to form half of Seaver Street in the '50s and then moved the El in the '80s (at least in this case).

Another issue: the grass there is currently only 204 feet (62 meters) wide, which is a good deal narrower than the ideal size for a soccer field. There's no specific requirement for pitch size, but 62 meters wide is quite narrow.

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There is a track around the field. Track events are the only sporting events I've seen in recent years at the stadium. Perhaps they could be covered temporarily by turf.

As a frequent user of the park my main concern would be that they would want to make a big parking lot at the expense of trees and fields and those vehicles would bring a lot of noise and pollution to what is one of the few places to potentially find peace and quiet in Boston.

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We can't have Pro Soccer at White Stadium because someone needs his peace and quiet in a place where there has been a dedicated sports area since 1949. Damn.

On the other hand. Dillboy, where the Breakers used to play has about the same amount of parking and the same amount of T access.

The big problem with the Breakers was that no one went to the games. You would figure Boston and especially Somerville would turn out for the games. Alas not many did. I actually bought a few of the players ice cream at Davis because I knew they made very little.

If you back this, show the hell up. Don't make too much noise though. Someone needs his sleepy time so he can rant at cops and cars.

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That would be turf on top of a very hard surface. That's a recipe for injuries.

Also, high school football is played at White Stadium. It's kind of one of the city's main high school stadia.

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And does anyone know what kind of shape the stadium is in? Been involved with games in several of the Boston HS fields, but never made it over to White.

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one of the few places to potentially find peace and quiet in Boston

Let me introduce you to this Boston landmark called "the Emerald Necklace".

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White Stadium and Franklin park are part of the Emerald Necklace right?

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right???

Yes??? And also??? that there's a lot more to the Emerald Necklace than those two sites???

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You directed people to go to "the Emerald Necklace" if they were upset with more traffic and crowds in Franklin Park. Those people go to the Emerald Necklace when they visit Franklin Park. Perhaps you could stand a visit to the park as well.

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Now if they could change the name from White Stadium to Jean McQuire Stadium that would be a great idea.

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Other possibilities might be Nickerson (B.U.) and Memorial (Quincy)
Nice stadiums with public transit

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Boston Cannons play April - June at Memorial Stadium, plus the HS and youth football leagues play there in the fall. Haven't been there since the renovations.

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I support Mayor Wu 100% on this as long as she takes care of the shootings, stabbings and Mass & Cass first,

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Click the Java with Jimmy link, she discussed that. Part of her answer is to try to convince the state to start setting up housing elsewhere so that people from the rest of the state and New England stop flooding Mass and Cass.

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Crime is a legitimate concern, especially violent crime. What result would you like see done before she tackles any other issues? Do you believe any one elected leader can rid the world of violent crime in a 4 year term?

Should we stop all city operations and initiatives until the city has zero incidents of violent crime? No more fire department, no more road repairs, no more plowing snow or picking up trash? You did say that the shootings and stabbings need to be "taken care of" first. Or do you just want all new things put on hold first? But then, White Stadium is not new, it exists already.

As for Mass & Cass; would you like her to magically appear housing for all those homeless, or magically cure all of those of their addictions or send just death squads down there to, you know.

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Do you believe any one elected leader can rid the world of violent crime in a 4 year term?

Sure. It would probably violate the Geneva Convention to try, but, in theory, yes.

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Where are 10,000 fans going to park?

Franklin Park is a gem. Don’t ruin it with a large stadium and parking garage, and the impact on the neighborhood with a frequent influx of thousands would be significant.

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I was excited when I heard that NWSL might return to Boston as I'm currently a STH with the DC team and would love a local team. And then I heard the proposal. The league has grown considerably since the Breakers were last here and the facilities mentioned are laughable for a top division club (Would anyone suggest the Revs play here? No). We would be a laughingstock and no player would want to come here - and I wouldn't blame them. Stadiums have to have a minimum capacity of 10,000 so I wish they would stop mentioning East Boston also. I'd rather have no team here than do it in a half-assed fashion, which is what this is. The franchise will be awarded to the Bay Area team, which has a real place to play (same stadium as the San Jose Earthquake).

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I'm all for a Women's Soccer League team using White Stadium.

While we're at it, BRING BACK SUMMERTHING! @Mayor Wu. The SUMMERTHING wrap up concerts at White Stadium were amazing.

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What will all the revenue be used for? There's a lot a necessities of quality of life which are lacking in our lives -- the very people who reside at Franklin Field, around Franklin Park, near the Zoo, at the Shattuck, and the people who unfortunately will be sleeping in Franklin Park come soccer season. That's a question for Ms. Henry who claims she cares.

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"A league source said that, in an ordinary year, the average NWSL team loses money on some $3 million to $4 million in revenue."

https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Journal/Issues/2022/08/15/Upfront/...

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"This is a city where we should have a professional women's soccer team," she said.

Who decided that? More Boston residents voted for the elected school committee than for this mayor. So maybe that should come first.

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