Duke Groover, senior partner at James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP, is leading a steering committee to bring professional soccer to Central Georgia following the United Soccer League’s Division III expansion team’s visit to Macon, Georgia, on Wednesday.
Groover also revealed intentions to explore the development of a soccer-specific stadium in downtown Macon, which could host a variety of other sporting and entertainment events year-round. Macon has seen recent downtown commercial development and has a vibrant student population from Mercer University, Wesleyan College, Macon State College and Central Georgia Technical College – all of which call the Georgia city home.
“USL Division III continues on track to launch in 2019, and we are thrilled to work with Duke as he leads a committee dedicated to bringing professional soccer to the Heart of Georgia,” USL DIII Vice President Steven Short said. “His knowledge and influence within the city are an indicator that strong local ownership is on the horizon for Macon, as well as a team that represents the community.”
The USL’s Division III, scheduled to kick off its first season in 2019, will provide passionate soccer supporters in new markets with a proven professional experience. Aiming to build strong regional rivalries to drive fan support and reduce travel costs, the USL’s DIII has visited 15 different cities and been in discussions with more than 50 markets across the United States.
Macon is not the only city in Georgia to express an interest in the USL’s third-division league, as South Georgia Tormenta FC Owner and President Darin Van Tassell is exploring the possibilities of a move from the Premier Development League – the top amateur league in North America – to USL’s DIII. Tormenta FC revealed early renderings of a possible soccer-specific venue on June 30.