ST. LOUIS, MO. – Major League Soccer is coming to one of the ancestral homes of the beautiful game in the United States. Earlier today in an announcement by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and MLS4TheLou, St. Louis, Missouri was awarded an MLS Expansion Team.
MLS4TheLou: St. Louis Awarded MLS Expansion Team
Andy Taylor and Carolyn Kindle Betz of Enterprise Holdings and Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology head up the St. Louis ownership group. Kavanaugh was behind the start of the cities USL Championship club, Saint Louis FC, who came into the (then) USL in 2015. The club made the USL playoffs last year and are currently mid-table (but outside the playoffs) in the Eastern Conference.
“It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer. St. Louis is a city with a rich soccer tradition, and it is a market we have considered since the league’s inception. Our league becomes stronger today with the addition of the city’s deeply dedicated soccer fans, and the committed and innovative local ownership group led by Carolyn Kindle Betz, the Taylor family, and Jim Kavanaugh,” said Garber in a statement.
Earlier this year, the ownership group released renderings of the planned soccer-specific stadium in the West Downtown neighborhood, very close to Enterprise Center, home of the recent Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues, and less than two miles away from the St. Louis Arch. In a great location, plans are to have the stadium hold 22,500 spectators.
“Our MLS team and stadium will only add to St. Louis’ renaissance currently underway and will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people in their love for the game,” said Betz.
STLFC was born out of the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club, a youth academy system that operates in the Missouri/Illinois area. Scott Gallagher is an excellent example of the talent and youth development that St. Louis soccer has been historically known for. This could be a sign of great Homegrown talent to be born out of the area to play in the league for the St. Louis expansion side.
St. Louis is the 28th city to be awarded and MLS franchise, leaving just two available spots open under the league’s plan to expand to 30 teams in the coming years. MLS4TheLou leapfrogged over longtime expansion hopefuls Sacramento, California. Las Vegas, Nevada and several other cities are also vying for those two positions.
Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC are the next two expansion teams to officially begin play. They will do so in 2020.