Nebraska Bugeaters FC has a home.
Lincoln's semi-pro soccer team announced Monday that it will play it's home games at Abbott Sports Complex.
The club and the Lincoln Sports Foundation announced a long-term partnership to use the stadium at 7600 N. 70th Street. The field will host all Bugeaters FC home matches and training beginning this spring.
“We are excited to develop a long-term partnership with the Lincoln Sports Foundation,” club founder Jonathan Collura said in a news release. “We plan on investing resources into the championship stadium to make it a premier community facility.”
The club said it will invest to repair the field and upgrade stadium amenities to facilitate a top-notch gameday experience.
”Ultimately, we plan to launch an academy and additional teams at the sports complex,“ Bugeaters FC partner Tim Pendrell said. "It ticked all of the boxes and will allow us to expand the club and properly host matches. It just needs a little love.“
Even with the announced long-term partnership, the potential foreclosure sale of the complex does murky the waters a bit. An issue over attorney representation delayed a potential foreclosure sale in November 2017, with the complex's future still tied up in court.
In June 2017, the Ethel S. Abbott Charitable Foundation requested the complex be sold to recoup some of the millions of dollars it has invested in the 23-year-old facility over the years, which the Lincoln Sports Foundation has been unable to pay back. A deal was in place earlier in 2017 to sell the complex to a company owned by Lincoln real estate developer Monte Froehlich, who wants to convert the property into an industrial park.
The Lincoln Sports Foundation initially agreed to go along with the sale, but it fell through after a member of its board raised questions about the legality of the deal. The Abbott Foundation, which holds a mortgage on the complex, then began the foreclosure process. That led to the Sports Foundation filing a lawsuit in October 2017, seeking to stop the foreclosure sale.
But the Bugeaters expressed confidence in Abbott as a long-term home for the club.
"We’re confident in the Lincoln Sports Foundation, and that when it is all said and done, the community isn’t going to let such an important community asset go away," Pendrell said.
The Bugeaters were announced in December 2017 and are set to begin play this spring, with plans to compete in the premier level of the United Premier Soccer League.
The UPSL is a national affiliate of the United States Adult Soccer Association, within the larger United States soccer league system. It's a full season, adult amateur soccer league, formed in 2011 to provide a competitive option for players seeking to play at higher levels.
— Clint Robus