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SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — While construction continues on the Stadium at Tidewater Landing, Rhode Island FC announced Friday they will play its inaugural season at Bryant University.

The state’s new minor league will host all of its USL Championship 2024 season home games at Bernie Stadium.

“Professional soccer is coming to Rhode Island in 2024,” said Rhode Island FC President Brett Luy. “This decision will allow the club to focus on the fan experience in the inaugural season and prioritize the work necessary to field a team that is ready to compete for trophies from the opening match.”

The decision follows months of uncertainty surrounding the 10,000-seat stadium under construction along the Seekonk River. Target 12 reported earlier this year that public officials have hit the pause button on issuing $27 million in bonds to help pay for the stadium, which has been clouded by political controversy.

Bryant’s athletic facilities were home to the New England Patriots’ training camp for two decades.

“Bryant University is happy to welcome Rhode Island’s new professional soccer team to play their inaugural season at Beirne Stadium on our Smithfield campus,” said Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. “We appreciate the enthusiasm that pro-sports teams bring to our community and look forward to being part of the excitement.”

Luy plans to hold a media briefing at 1 p.m.

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