East Providence mayor makes pitch to bring Rhode Island FC to the city for inaugural season

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva said Thursday he would welcome Rhode Island FC to the city for their inaugural season.

“We’d be more than happy to be the host community for them for the first year until the stadium is built,” DaSilva said Thursday.

The mayor’s remarks come after the newly minted professional soccer club announced at the end of last month that their new stadium being built in Pawtucket as part of the controversial Tidewater Landing project may not be ready in time for their debut season.

In that letter to Rhode Island FC supporters, team president Brett Luy wrote, “Our leadership team is evaluating all venue options while the construction of the stadium at Tidewater Landing progresses. Once the venue for next year is finalized, we will announce plans and policies for how you can convert your deposit to season tickets for our historic inaugural season.”

In his comments Thursday, DaSilva gave his suggestion as to where the team should play their first season.

“If they need a place where they need to have their inaugural stadium, I can’t think of a better place than Pierce Memorial Stadium,” said DaSilva.

The mayor added the stadium can comfortably seat up to 6,000 fans and has hosted professional soccer before.

DaSilva said he has reached out to team ownership make his pitch for the team to play at Pierce Memorial Stadium.

“I would love nothing more than to have them here, they want to build their fanbase and this would be a great opportunity for them to build their fanbase right within a community that has a love for the support,” said DaSilva.

The mayor noted if the team were to play in East Providence it would be an “economic driver” for the community.

When asked Thursday about the mayor’s comments, a Rhode Island FC spokesperson said they have no further details at this time.

Aside from East Providence, Tony Moretti, Mayor Ken Hopkins’ chief of staff, told ABC 6 News that Cranston is “open to exploring the possibility of RIFC using Cranston Stadium for their inaugural season.”

“Nothing formal has been proposed and if anything were to move forward there are several areas of concern that would need to be addressed,” added Moretti.

As for Pawtucket, a spokesperson for Mayor Don Grebien said that “while there have been no official discussions of a temporary location for RIFC, the city of Pawtucket will do its best to ensure that they play here in our city.”

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