Dec. 29—Editor's note: No. 3 of the top 10 stories of 2022.
HIGH POINT — One of the biggest announcements of the year for High Point was that a professional men's soccer team will play its home matches at Truist Point stadium starting in 2024.
Carolina Core FC, which stands for Football Club, will compete in MLS Next Pro, which is the developmental league for Major League Soccer, and will play 12 to 20 home games from spring to fall at Truist Point stadium, which it will share with the High Point Rockers baseball team.
"The partnership with Carolina Core FC is another opportunity to position Truist Point stadium as a destination for all to come and enjoy," Mayor Jay Wagner said. "Investing in this next phase of stadium improvements is consistent with the original vision of a multiuse stadium. We are thrilled to welcome soccer fans in the near future."
The team was formed by local owners, which include lead investors Megan Oglesby and brothers Matt and Mark Penley, who are Oglesby's cousins.
They are part of the Congdon family, which founded Old Dominion Freight Line. The owners purchased an independent membership within MLS Next Pro.
"By bringing the world's game to the Carolina Core, we will create countless opportunities for those who want to access the sport and lift up the community both on and off the field," said Oglesby, who is principal investor and managing partner. "This is far more than a financial investment for our group. This will be a long-term investment into individuals and communities with untapped potential, and it will be a major driver of economic development in the region."
She hired High Point native and National Soccer Hall of Fame member Eddie Pope as the team's chief sporting officer, which is akin to the role of general manager.
Pope, a graduate of Southwest Guilford High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, had an 11-year professional career in MLS and played in three World Cups for the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team.
"I couldn't be more excited for the arrival of a MLS Next Pro club here in the Carolina Core," Pope said. "Our vision is to provide the pro player pathway for the area's best young talent, build a lifelong connection between the club and our fans by uniting the community, and to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion both on and off the field."
The city will pay for stadium renovations to accommodate professional soccer. These will entail removing a portion of the first base grandstand that angles sharply toward the field in order to move the playing surface 20 feet closer to the seating area, replacing the existing artificial turf to meet color, pattern and playability standards for both baseball and soccer, and building out unfinished space to accommodate soccer locker rooms.
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Professional soccer team coming to High Point – Yahoo! Voices
Dec. 29—Editor's note: No. 3 of the top 10 stories of 2022.