Legendary Jaguars player Fred Taylor joins Tim Tebow on pro soccer ownership team

Another well-known Jacksonville sports figure will be part of the group bringing USL professional soccer to Northeast Florida in the coming years.

Fred Taylor, who played 11 of his 13 NFL seasons as a Jaguar, has joined JAX USL, alongside fellow UF alumnus Tim Tebow, experienced professional soccer executive Steve Livingstone, local community innovator Tony Allegretti and majority owner Ricky Caplin.

“I’m honored and delighted to welcome my friend and another Florida sports legend to our growing ownership team,” Caplin said. “Fred joins us at a pivotal moment as we look forward to making several important announcements in the coming months on our progress to bring top-level men’s and women’s USL pro soccer to Northeast Florida.”

The group announced last August that it was bringing professional soccer to Jacksonville after the USL granted expansion franchises to the city.

The men’s and women’s teams are pegged to begin play in 2025-26. Currently, the soccer group doesn’t yet have a name, a stadium or an exact time on when it will begin play. The USL is one tier below Major League Soccer in the soccer hierarchy.

Along with his ownership stake in the soccer clubs, Taylor will serve as an ambassador for the USL expansion franchise as JAX USL builds toward the launch of its men’s and women’s clubs in the USL Championship and USL Super League, a USL Youth Soccer Academy, and the development of a soccer-specific stadium and facilities.

“I’m pleased to have been invited to join Ricky and Tim on the JAXUSL ownership team,” Taylor said. “I’m extremely impressed with the club’s plans to elevate our community by bringing USL men’s and women’s pro soccer teams to Northeast Florida, along with their aspirations in working with city and county authorities on the First Coast to lift every voice by creating facilities and opportunities that will benefit all communities.”

UF women’s soccer coaching legend Becky Burleigh leads JAX USL’s efforts as a consultant to their women’s pro team.

The USL Super League has announced plans to begin play in the 2024 season with eight teams — Carolina, Dallas/Fort Worth, Lexington, Phoenix, Spokane, Tampa Bay, Tucson and Washington, D.C.

Jacksonville was one of five other cities to be awarded a team that would begin play in 2025 or thereafter. Chattanooga, Indianapolis, Madison and Oakland are the others.

The next big task — and it’s a gigantic one for the organization — is settling on a location for the stadium. Last August, the organization said it intended to have a 15,000-seat stadium that would serve as the hub for its soccer operations. Livingstone said that the process of narrowing down potential sites and what works best continues.

“Every day, we’re getting close to the stadium site. You know, every day I wake up, I think, ‘You know, we’re a day closer.’ So, I can’t tell you what day that is, but we’re working on it. We’re working diligently. We’re talking to various municipalities. We’re narrowing down our options,” Livingstone said.

The Super League is structured to channel players from their early years to presumptively the top level with several tiers of play. Its W League is branded as the country’s top pre-professional circuit and sits directly below the Super League level.

Beneath the W League are the USL Academy and the Super Y League. The Academy focuses on advanced talent development and the Y which is billed as a premier national youth league.

“It will allow us to bridge the gap between what’s happening here at the youth level,” Livingstone said. “And unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of great talented girls in the market that have to leave the market. So, we’re taking a big step forward and trying to address that today. I’m tremendously excited about it.”

In addition to the two women’s leagues, the USL Academy and the Super Y, the USL has three men’s leagues (USL Championship, USL League One, USL League Two).

Fans can register their interest in JAXUSL now by securing a season ticket deposit for $25 at www.jaxusl.com.

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