Investors, including Tim Tebow, bring pro football back to Jacksonville | Jax’s Daily Log | Jacksonville Daily Record

The United Soccer League announced on August 30 that JAXUSL, a Jacksonville-based group of investors and executives that includes soccer player and philanthropist Tim Tebow, has acquired the rights to a USL Championship expansion franchise.

The league’s press release said JAXUSL’s principal investor is Ricky Caplin, an investor from Northeast Florida and a director of Caplin Ventures.

Tebow is a supporting owner of the club, “bringing experience as a professional athlete, investor and philanthropist.”

The release says professional football executive Steve Livingstone and Jacksonville executive Tony Allegretti are founding and managing partners.

They will oversee the daily operations of JAXUSL to establish and grow the USL expansion club.

The press release said the group intends to begin play in 2025 as the first club in Northeast Florida to feature men’s and women’s professional soccer.

JAXUSL also partnered with the Florida Elite Soccer Academy, which the league called “one of the largest and most successful youth soccer organizations in the United States.”

Headquartered in St. Johns County, Florida Elite includes more than 10,000 members throughout Northeast Florida and features pre-professional teams in the USL League Two and USL W League. Steven Mail is president of Florida Elite.

The statement said the expansion club will be one of the first in the United States to offer a full youth-to-pro pathway for men and women.

The USL Championship features 27 professional clubs across the United States with plans to add expansion teams in Iowa, Rhode Island, Louisiana and more.

The release says the USL Super League will bring professional women’s soccer to new markets and create opportunities for women on and off the field.

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The USL Championship squad intends to start in 2025, contingent on securing a First Coast home for the club.

“JAXUSL is actively engaged with local stakeholders and has identified multiple potential locations for the development of a 15,000-capacity stadium and world-class training facility,” the statement said.

Details about the stadium and training facilities will be announced in the coming months, he said.

Northeast Florida soccer fans will be invited to help develop the club’s brand through community consultations, town halls and a naming competition. The statement said fans can register their interest in the club with a $25 season ticket deposit on the club’s official website, jaxusl.com.

USL Director of Operations and Director of Real Estate Justin Papadakis and USL Super League and W League President Amanda Vandervort joined JAXUSL leaders at TPC Sawgrass for the 30th announcement. of August.

“I am thrilled to be part of the new ownership group looking to bring some incredible professional teams and world-class facilities to our area that will be accessible to the entire community,” Tebow said in the statement.

Tebow, 35, a resident of Jacksonville, was a star football player at Nease High School in St. Johns County before signing with the University of Florida. The two-time national champion and Heisman Trophy winner is also a football analyst for the SEC Network.

He played three years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and New England Patriots. Tebow signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end in 2021 and attended training camp, but was released before the season began.

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Tebow is the founder and president of the Tim Tebow Foundation.

News4Jax, news partner of the Jacksonville Daily Record, reported on August 30 that Northeast Florida has not had a professional soccer team since the Jacksonville Armada transitioned to a team made up of college-age players in the National Premier Soccer League. .

Before joining the NPSL, the Navy competed in the North American Soccer League, then the second division league. But the NASL ceased operations in 2018, forcing the Navy to search for a new league.

News4Jax said the new USL franchise is not affiliated with the Navy.

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