A Field Desperate For Repair

Aviator Field, where York’s soccer teams’ home games are played. | Photo by Niko Balkaran

By William Meija

York College men’s and women’s soccer teams have no athletic field for home games. As a result, York soccer teams are forced to play their home games at Aviator Field in Brookyln’s Floyd Bennett Park. This has been an ongoing situation for the past 20 years. 

“It would feel more at home if the field was closer, so fans can come to support the team,” said Stanley Sanchez, a men’s soccer team member. “Having a bigger support from school fans would definitely boost player confidence.”

As reported initially by Pandora’s Box in 2014, the problems with the field went back almost 12 years since then. Now it’s been 20 years, and nothing has changed. The athletic field – located at 160th Street and Liberty Avenue behind the Health and Physical Education building has had numerous problems, such as sinkholes, electrical issues and other damage. 

More recently, “CUNY, on behalf of York College, entered an agreement” with the Queensborough Football Club (QBFC) to build a “temporary modular stadium” on the athletic field. This further prevented the teams from practicing on what was already a damaged field.

“There were some talks about fixing the field,” said Taylor Bellmon of the york’s women’s soccer team. “It was originally planned to be built in 2022 but plans changed to 2023,” Bellmon added.

In April of 2021, it was announced by York and QBFC, an expansion club of the United Soccer League (USL), that the stadium at York would be the site of its home games for the inaugural season in spring 2022. It was planned to be the first-ever stadium built by a professional team in New York City. According to a public statement on the York College website, the announcement has been a long time coming for many fans, who have been highly anticipating the news and are eager to welcome a home soccer stadium to Queens. 

CUNY awarded QBFC the contract in the Summer of 2020 to build the new stadium. Their goal was to support the university’s academic and athletic mission to enhance the college experience for students, create local jobs and grow neighborhood businesses, according to York’s website.

QBFC also launched The 1909 Club, where fans could purchase seasonal tickets and place deposits to be lifelong club members.

“The City University of New York is proud to partner with Queensboro FC in bringing a professional soccer stadium to York College in Queens, a place world-renowned for its cultural and linguistic diversity, and for its love of el fútbol,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodriguez on the York College website. “This new stadium is a great addition to the York College campus and will benefit not only CUNY students and the local community, but all New Yorkers and fans of soccer.”

But the announcement of the Willets Point soccer stadium between New York City and the New York City Football Club called into question whether or not the stadium on the York campus would be built. This is because the same day, York received a “7.5 million transformation gift from the New York City Football Club.” Additionally, QBFC was acquired by the NYCFC, according to Charles Bozian, Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration, at a Senate meeting in Sept. 

“At this time, that agreement is in effect. We are aware of the changing environment in New York City for its professional soccer teams, as well as QBFC’s recent statement that it is reviewing its plans following the announcement by NYCFC that it will be building a soccer stadium at Willets Point,” said Kathryn Cousins, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Communications at York College. “We remain in regular communication with QBFC and should there be a change in its plans moving forward, we will keep our community informed as we ourselves receive this information.”

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