Sarasota-Bradenton Scores Its First Soccer Franchise



Sarasota Metropolis FC (Football Club) is the region’s first minor league soccer franchise—one of the 72 teams currently competing in the USL League Two (USL2). The USL2 is unofficially considered to be the fourth tier of professional soccer, behind Major League Soccer, USL Championship and USL League One. Upon being founded January 2019, Metropolis FC conducted extensive research before selecting the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Factors included a strong soccer community of youth clubs, supporter groups and proficient facilities, contributing to a new home at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

“Once we discovered the soccer community in the area, we decided to include Metropolis in our name because of our commitment to embrace and unify soccer fans in Sarasota and Manatee Counties,” says Victor Young, Club Founder and President. “A ‘metropolis’ was considered the mother city of a vast region in ancient Greece, so we thought it was fitting.” The Blue Dragon mascot was incorporated from legendary myths regarding fire-breathing protectors of said Grecian metropolis. Young has been a business leader in the area for over a decade, and is the co-owner of Lamborghini Sarasota. Determined to find a fun way to give back to the community and “leave a legacy of opportunity and unity, while promoting the sport of soccer in the Sarasota-Manatee Metro,” he used his own money, got a team together and convinced the United Soccer League to franchise Sarasota in League 2.

Tryouts were held through March, after which the team comprised a mix of top local talent and college recruits from around the world who play at D1 university programs. Nearly all have professional ambitions to work in the soccer industry. An individual who knows a little something about playing professionally is Massimo Marazzina, a retired footballer who played as a striker for Italy’s national team. “We felt like we won the lottery when we were able to land Massimo Marazzina, Italian soccer legend, as our Head Coach and Director of Soccer,” Assistant General Manager Jordyn Young says.

The USL2 has been dubbed the “path to pro” in the North American soccer industry, and important stepping-stone for 80% of Major League Soccer players throughout the world. “I’m delighted with how Sarasota Metropolis FC brings together passion for the community as well as sporting ambition," says USL2 Vice President Joel Nash. "We know that this team will give incredible opportunities for the local and regional player, since there is a real talent pool in the area.”

Metropolis’ inaugural game on May 8, had nearly 200 people show up to watch as they defeated the visiting Florida team Weston FC. They will continue to play their 2019 season home games at both Robert Taylor Sports Complex and IMG Academy, in order to serve fans in both counties. Root the Blue Dragons on at the next home game—this Wednesday, June 5 at 7pm, against the Treasure Coast Tritons.

Photo courtesy of Sarasota Metropolis FC

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