Major League Soccer

Manchester City’s Sofive Soccer Centers Expand Footprint in U.S.

Manchester City’s Sofive Soccer Centers Expand Footprint in U.S.

Sofive Soccer Centers, partly owned and operated by Manchester City’s parent company, City Football Group, are expanding in the U.S. to 22 locations by acquiring XL Soccer World, which has 13 indoor sports venues in the Northeast.

CFG said the acquisition is an eight-figure investment.

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In 2021, CFG’s Goals Soccer Centers (Goals) merged with Sofive, a chain of five-a-side recreational indoor soccer centers in the northeastern U.S., to create a bi-coastal recreational soccer business aiming to grow and develop in the lead-up to the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Following the merger, Sofive grew to nine sites and later expanded into Chicago, L.A. and the San Francisco area, increasing the total to 13 centers.

“Youth soccer is a huge opportunity,” Jorgina Busquets, managing director of football education, recreation and partner clubs at City Football Group, said in a video call. “We’re focused on the sharp end of the pyramid. We won the Premier League for Man City, but in reality, soccer is much more important and can impact communities and people.”

Sofive is aiming to solidify its position as a leader in the recreational and youth soccer sector. The company said its facilities will be used by adults and youth, predominantly by Hispanic and Latino communities on the West Coast and the Midwest, and a mix of communities on the East Coast.

Busquets’ division oversees CFG’s educational programs, including soccer schools and wearable training technology. “The U.S. is our top market for that,” she said. “We’re working now on how to increase our exposure and how we can do more things in the U.S.”

CFG already has pay-to-play programs in New York with its local club New York City FC, which has plans to add new programs through Sofive.

“We originally did the joint venture because we believed that there was a shortage of facilities for people to play soccer,” Busquets said. “And we saw this opportunity in the U.S., specifically in urban areas where it’s hard to find a place to play.”

Youth and recreational sports facilities attract investors due to their high growth potential, steady revenue streams and community engagement. In March, Josh Harris and David Blitzer launched Unrivaled Sports, a new parent company for their youth sports properties, for those same reasons.

Manchester City’s data and market research project that these 22 centers will attract over 7 million visitors annually across 10 U.S. states. As part of the transaction, Sofive will also acquire the XL Soccer Travel Clubs, including Orlando City Soccer School in Lake Nona and F.C. America Florida.

(This article has been updated to clarify that CFG is a part owner of Sofive.)

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