The New York Yankees have partnered with NYCFC and will allow their outfield to be converted into a 110 by 70 yard soccer field for the foreseeable future, as NYCFC has yet to find a space to build its own soccer stadium.
The field will have one end line running along the first-base line and the other in front of the left-field bleachers. That will require that the infield dirt be covered with sod and the pitcher’s mound be dismantled.
The announcement regarding NYCFC’s pitch was made at Yankee Stadium itself on Monday and was attended by the Yankees’ own Mariano Rivera, who is the first season ticket holder for the MLS expansion club.
Rivera expressed no concern over the shared field space, saying he would have no problem pitching off of a mound that will need to be rebuilt after each soccer game.
“I don’t think we have to worry,” Rivera said. “We know what [the grounds staff] can do here.”
The agreement for the field is a temporary one, as NYCFC’s Chief Business Officer Tim Pernetti said the club will continue to look for a soccer-specific stadium. Manchester City, the primary owners of NYCFC, are adamant about finding a location within the five boroughs.
However, Pernetti admitted that such an undertaking takes a lot of time and planning, so there is currently no deadline set on when NYCFC will evacuate Yankee Stadium. For now, he said, that is “the home” of the club.
“In the end, we’re not anticipating having any issues getting where we need to get in the process to become successful with a stadium,” Pernetti said. “We are going to build a soccer-specific stadium in New York City, and we’re going to take whatever time is necessary to get it right.”
Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost estimated that it will take three days to convert the field either way, and could be done in two and a half days if necessary. The Yankees management assured that the baseball team would not suffer from any scheduling conflicts, as the two teams will move forward in a “coordinated, friendly and cooperative effort.”
Director of Football Operations Claudio Reyna said he was excited about using Yankee Stadium as a soccer pitch.
“We’re really excited, to be honest. It’s an incredible venue,” Reyna said. “You know, it’s here in the Bronx, there’s the passion of fans that we have in New York City. I think we’ll rival any other stadium.”
Only time will tell if the two teams can share the space as easily and cordially as they believe. In the meantime, NYCFC will continue its search for the true home of New York’s newest professional sports team.