City of High Point officials have been excited about a lot of new things coming there over the years – mostly large new businesses that bring a lot of new jobs – however, High Point leaders have rarely been as excited as they are right now about the new soccer team, Carolina Core FC, that’s coming to town.

“This is a very, very big deal,” said former High Point Mayor Bill Bencini, who went into detail about the number of ways in which the new Major League Soccer NEXT team will be huge for the city.

MLS NEXT Pro is a new professional men’s soccer league established last year by Major League Soccer. The league held its inaugural season this year with a commitment to “driving a new era of North American soccer.”

Carolina Core FC – getting the name from the central North Carolina region that’s being branded by economic development officials as the “Carolina Core” – is scheduled to have its inaugural season in the spring of 2024.

According to Bencini, some area residents don’t realize yet how immensely popular soccer has become in recent years; but, he added, the fact that this is a growing sport enjoyed by populations worldwide greatly increases the potential fan base to pull from.

High Point has done a very good job of attracting new businesses such as clothing and medical companies over the years, but city officials are always really excited about upping the city’s sports and entertainment credentials. They’re tired of residents traveling to Greensboro for entertainment, and Bencini said he’s glad to see that, in recent years, more and more people are coming from Greensboro to events and entertainment venues in High Point.

The former High Point mayor said that the first and only professional-level soccer team in this region is expected to be a major attraction with some fans traveling impressive distances to attend the games.

The popularity of soccer in the US is obviously on the upswing with current World Cup matches drawing a giant amount of interest and with iPhone-maker Apple signing a long-term deal with Major League Soccer earlier this year. Starting in 2023, Apple TV will have exclusive streaming rights for all MLS matches.

When High Point built a new downtown stadium several years ago, the stadium was referred to by some as “Rockers Stadium” because the High Point Rockers baseball team was the main attraction. However, city leaders were always careful to mention that this is a “multi-use” stadium, and now, with a host of soccer games to be played there alongside baseball, the stadium is more multi-use than ever.

The downtown stadium is now being modified to accommodate the new team and the new sport.