Plans are in the works for a new semi-pro soccer team to play at The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township starting next spring.
The club, which is going by the name Real Central New Jersey Soccer until a final name is chosen, plans to launch both a women’s and men’s team simultaneously in May 2021.
“When you look for teams at this pre-professional level around New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, they are either in North Jersey, near the Shore, or in Philadelphia,” said Ira Jersey of Lawrence Township, the founder of the club.
“Given the rich Central Jersey soccer landscape of players and fans, there’s a need for affordable, high-quality soccer entertainment in our community,” he said. “Our vision is to build the club into a community resource and a point of pride for our region.”
Jersey will be the general manager of the men’s program, while Ben Chrnelich of Hopewell Township will be the general manager of the women’s program.
“The women’s game has grown so much over the years,” Chrnelich said. “With Sky Blue moving to Red Bull Arena from their former home at Rutgers, high-level women’s soccer has moved further from Trenton. In fact, we’ll have the only high-level summer soccer teams easily accessible by mass transit from Mercer County.”
It’s been 30 years since the last team played in the Trenton area at a similar level. In 1990 and 1991, the Penn-Jersey Spirit of the now-disbanded American Professional Soccer League used Lion’s Stadium as their home field, on the campus of what is now The College of New Jersey in Ewing. Centrally located and with the right mix of amenities, the new teams are planning to play in the same facility.
“The location and facilities are perfect,” Jersey said of the TCNJ facility. “It offers a full-size soccer pitch, has easy parking and bus access, and many amenities that will allow us to create an energetic and fun atmosphere for families, supporters, and businesses.”
Since many sports leagues are delayed or canceled for the year, the club believes demand for local and outdoor events will climb in 2021. “The safety of our fans and participants will come first,” Jersey said.
The club believes that Lions Stadium, which has a seating capacity of more than 6,000, will be able to accommodate several thousand fans, even if some form of physical distancing continues into 2021.
Individuals, community organizations, and businesses interested in being involved are encouraged to join the club’s mailing list at www.realcentralnj.soccer and follow the club’s social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.