freeman stadium

It doesn't look like much now but come the Spring of 2022, CSU Monterey Bay's Freeman stadium will be the home turf of the Monterey Bay Football Club. 

Meet the Monterey Bay Football Club. Monterey Bay FC, is the newest team joining the ranks of the United Soccer League according to a press release sent on Feb. 1. In expanding to the Monterey Bay, the new soccer team is making a home at CSU Monterey Bay's Freeman Stadium. 

The team will be owned by Ray Beshoff and is a bit of full circle moment for the seasoned football club owner. Beshoff lives in the area and his daughters are co-owners of Joyce Wine Company. He has also entered into a deal with CSUMB to renovate the Freeman stadium, having at  last, a home base for his soccer team.

“Over the years, I have seen the passion for soccer that exists in Monterey Bay. On behalf of the local investor group, we are honored to bring the world’s game at one of the highest professional levels to the region,” Beshoff said in a press release.

“This is a club that will be committed to the community and our first priority will always be to listen to our fans. We will build this club and community with our fans and invest in retaining its talent and diversity, starting with revitalizing a stadium on the campus of CSUMB," he said.

The stadium is a big part of the deal for MBFC. Beshoff has owned the Fresno Foxes and announced in October 2019 that it was leaving the city because of a lack of dedicated infrastructure. The team for years had to share a baseball field. The Fresno Foxes has since dissolved.

The CSUMB stadium is currently closed to the public and has already been leveled to a gravel field. The deal is said to be a multi-million dollar one, but no exact figures have been released yet, as USL irons out the details. USL's press release confirms that the stadium will expand to a 6,000-seat capacity and will be completed in time for the 2022 season. Construction will begin this summer. 

"The partnership is certainly wonderful for [Beshoff]. The Monterey Bay is [his] home and it's quite a draw of a combination of things," says Mike DiGiulio, the president of the MBFC. DiGuilio is in charge of fostering long term partnerships and sees an opportunity for the region. He and those involved in the expansion noticed a "thirst" for pro sports that is especially evident in the Salinas Valley. 

USL president Jake Edwards notes the popularity of soccer in the area too stating that the Monterey is "a diverse and beautiful community that has a tremendous passion for soccer."

As for pro-soccer hopefuls at CSUMB, President Eduardo Ochoa expressed his enthusiasm over student athletes having the chance to train adjacently to professional athletes.

"MBFC represents an opportunity for our student-athletes to train and learn in immediate proximity to talented soccer professionals and for our students to engage in a diverse number of internships supporting Monterey Bay FC," Ochoa said.

In an effort to build community support and field prospective fans' desires MBFC will hold several listening sessions concerning the club's crest and colors. Fans can also hold a seat at the stadium for the 2022 season now with a deposit of $22 at montereybayfc.com

Marielle Argueza is a staff writer and calendar editor for the Weekly. She covers education, immigration and culture. Additionally, she covers the areas of Marina and South County. She occasionally writes about food and runs the internship program.

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