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Milwaukee Pro Soccer pushes its debut to 2026

A rendering of the view from the upper concourse of the Iron District stadium.
Kahler Slater / JLG Architects
A rendering of the view from the upper concourse of the Iron District stadium.

Soccer fans excited about Milwaukee joining the sport’s highest professional ranks in the United States will have to temper that enthusiasm for at least another year.

On Wednesday, Milwaukee Pro Soccer announced that the franchise will make its debut in 2026 after initially targeting the 2025 season. A press release from the organization pointed to stadium development as the primary motivation behind the decision.

“As the highest level of pro soccer in the state of Wisconsin, we know we only have one opening day, and we want to make sure we get that product, that fan experience, and our facilities right,” chief operating officer Conor Caloia said in the release. “The stadium and experience we will bring will be worth the wait. We’re excited for a successful kickoff season in 2026.”

The Iron District project has undergone several changes since its initial announcement in May 2022. A concert venue was stripped out of plans for the $220 million development, which includes an 8,000-seat stadium, a hotel and apartment buildings, one of which — Michigan Street Commons — is currently going up on the corner of Michigan and 9th streets.

Milwaukee Pro Soccer is owned by Kacmarcik Enterprises, which is working with Kenosha-based Bear Development on the Iron District. Earlier this month, Governor Tony Evers announced a $9.3 million grant to aid the stadium’s financing efforts. Pursuit of further support is ongoing, according to the Journal Sentinel’s Tom Daykin.

In its release, Milwaukee Pro Soccer noted that it will continue to work with local agency Cramer-Krasselt on selecting a final team name, crest and branding. It also said to expect more community engagement activities in the lead-up to the team’s first match.

That debut is currently scheduled for the 2026 season as part of the USL Championship — the second-highest tier of pro soccer in the United States. The league consists of 27 clubs across the country, including Detroit and Indianapolis in the Midwest, Miami, Las Vegas and San Diego. Its season runs from March through November, which in 2026 will coincide with the FIFA World Cup being hosted in the summer by the United States, Mexico and Canada.