Stadium issues force Penn FC out of USL, but club granted 2020 slot for third tier

October 10 – The USL, operator of the second tier of US professional soccer and soon to launch a professional third tier, has granted USL side Penn FC a spot in League 1 for the 2020 season. The club will go dark for the 2019 season and not compete in the USL.

Formerly the Harrisburg City Islanders, Penn FC were rebranded at the end of 2017 and have been playing in the USL this season.

The club has announced it has had to pull out of the USL for 2019 as it searches for a more a suitable stadium.

“The lack of a serviceable stadium solution has presented a tremendous challenge for Penn FC,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “Our league has grown and matured to a point where having a strong venue that allows for proper scheduling, a quality in-stadium experience and better opportunities on both the business and technical sides is absolutely essential. With that said, we have great faith in Eric (Penn FC owner Eric Pettis) and his team and look forward to welcoming them back in 2020.”

One option being pursued is a potential new soccer-specific stadium development in the region. A stadium will need to be secured before the 2020 season when the club restarts in the next tier down.

“We’re incredibly disappointed not to take part in the 2019 season,” said Pettis. “However, we remain wholly committed to finding a solution to our stadium situation and ensuring that we can continue to bring high-level professional soccer to our fans in the region. We look forward to launching a new era of Penn FC in 2020.”

The club, founded in 2003 as the Harrisburg City Islanders, is one of only three alongside Orlando City SC and the Swope Park Rangers to have reached the USL Cup on two separate occasions in the league’s modern era. Previously, the club claimed the USL Second Division championship in 2007 and has reached the quarter finals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup four occasions.

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