Iowans will soon have a new soccer team to support, with the USL confirming that they’ve agreed to accept a franchise based in Des Moines.
What do we know about the team so far and what kind of league will they be playing in? Find out what to expect from the new soccer franchise in Iowa.
— Pro Iowa (@USLProIowa) January 28, 2022
The Full Story to Date
The United Soccer League (USL) announced at the start of 2022 that Iowa is to get a new soccer team. This deal was confirmed at the Greater Des Moines Partnership Annual Dinner and work has been going on behind the scenes to get everything in place for the next steps. They don’t have a name yet, but we know that they’re set to join the league in 2024.
The USL Championship is basically the second tier of professional soccer in the US, behind the MLS. However, with no promotion from the league, there’s currently no opportunity for any team to progress to the MLS if they perform well in the USL.
The setup means that the new team will be a couple of levels above the existing Des Moines Menace franchise, which plays in the USL League Two, which is the fourth tier in the country.
Thanks to the partnership with @MenaceSoccer94 and @kif_soccer, and Friends of Des Moines Parks, over 340 youth were able to leave their first @DesMoinesParks spring soccer game with free ball this past Saturday! pic.twitter.com/VzRXHcfZu7
— Pro Iowa (@USLProIowa) April 11, 2022
Who Is Behind It?
In fact, both of the Iowa soccer franchises have the same owner, but at the moment there is no suggestion of anything changing for the Menace with the news of the new team. Kyle Krause, CEO of the giant Krause Group, is the man behind both Des Moines franchises.
Best known for running the chain of Kum & Go convenience stores, Krause has Italian heritage and also owns the Italian soccer team Parma. He spoke a few years about his goal of getting a major sporting franchise to Iowa and has finally achieved it.
Currently, the Krause+ property development company is about to start work on the new stadium to be built for the team. The building of this new stadium was a crucial part of the deal, with USL officials keen to see a franchise in Iowa but only if the stadium met their requirements. Indeed, the soccer venue is just part of a $535 million plan to add housing, hotels, offices, and other amenities to the Western side of Des Moines.
The funding target is $75 million, and Krause has raised $50 million of that to date. This includes a total of $23 million from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The stadium should be ready for the spring 2024 deadline and will have 6.300 seats in it. Krause said recently that they’re still finalizing the design based on their budget and what can be done with that amount of money.
— Kyle J. Krause (@Kyle_J_Krause) January 28, 2022
The Influence Of Krause
There is no name for the stadium yet, but a big part of the plans is to get a lively fan culture going there, to generate a welcoming atmosphere. As part of the overall approach to including fans, it will be the public who helps to decide key issues such as the franchise crest and their name. Fans can submit their own ideas online and get the latest updates online.
As part of this, there’s a survey that asks Iowans whether they think that the team’s culture should be based on the history of Des Moines, or on its future. This will affect the design of the crest, and they want to get as many opinions from locals as they can before reaching a decision. So now is the time for anyone who wants to get involved to make their voice heard.
For the moment, Krause has called the supporter group Pro Iowa, and he said that they’re building up a network for the fanbase. They’ve been giving out franchise gear and carrying out soccer-related activities to attract new fans. The owner said that they can now do this more aggressively, with the next six months expected to produce a lot more activity in this area.
Build it and they will come. @USLProIowa will join the USL Championship in 2024!
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) January 28, 2022
What Can We Expect from the New Team?
It generally takes new teams in any sport some time to get up and running. However, the fact that owner Krause already owns a European soccer team could be a big help. It’s been suggested that he may use Parma’s scouting network to find players for the Des Moines team.
Krause believes that promising players may also choose Iowa ahead of other destinations because they could see it as the pathway to a future career in Europe.
He’s already mentioned the possibility of new signings for Parma heading to Des Moines while they work on getting up to the level needed for the Italian league. There’s also the suggestion that they could use the data analytics staff at Parma to help boost the performances of players in.
— Kyle J. Krause (@Kyle_J_Krause) September 18, 2020