Photo courtesy of the city of Bridgeport

The newest team in the MLS NEXT professional soccer team wants to call Bridgeport home after redeveloping the city’s former greyhound racing track next to the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment near downtown.

Mayor Joe Ganim announced that Connecticut Sports Group, owner of the new CT United soccer team and owned by tech entrepreneur André Swanston, plan to build a new stadium on the site intended to open in 2025.

A rendering shared by Ganim’s office also shows a mix of large residential and retail buildings on the harbor-front site as well, which has also received zoning approval. The announcement from Ganim’s office did not specify the size, unit count or targeted opening dates for those portions of the development. The site is also walking distance from Bridgeport’s Metro-North train station.

“We are committed to building the infrastructure – from a free youth academy to a state-of-the-art stadium – needed to propel Connecticut to the highest levels of soccer,” Swanston said in a statement shared by Ganim’s office.

MLS NEXT Pro is a professional developmental league established in the United States and Canada by Major League Soccer in 2022. Bridgeport is already home to one farm team for a major national sports franchise: the successful Bridgeport Islanders, which develop and feed players to the New York Islanders, based in Nassau County on Long Island. MLS NEXT Pro has 29 teams: 27 affiliated with MLS teams and two independent. CT United is one of three new teams slated to join the league in the next few years.

“André has a proven track record of building transformational companies and valuing community development,” Charles Altchek, president of MLS NEXT Pro, said in a statement provided by Ganim’s office. “His leadership, entrepreneurship, and determination will be key to the success of the Club, and we are thrilled to partner with André, his wife Michelle, and the CTSG team. Today’s introduction of CT United FC marks a historic milestone as André takes the helm as not only as one of our youngest club owners, but also as one of only a few Black principal owners in modern US sports history.”