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My take on MLS expansion in Philadelphia

Good morning all.

As you read recently on SBI, Major League Soccer is preparing to announce Philadelphia as the league’s 16th franchise and, with that in mind, I thought it was a good time to take a look at Philly and what the city will be bringing to the MLS table.

Here is my story on Philadelphia expansion for I found it very interesting that there are so many long-time MLS fans in the city, fans who rooted for either D.C. United or the Red Bulls/MetroStars who are ready to root for Philly’s new team. Add that to the instant rivalries created by D.C. and New York and these are elements that will help a Philly team be a success right away.

Those of you who have read SBI for a while know that I have backed Philly as an expansion city for a while now and I’m still convinced that it will be a big hit. After working on this piece I am even more convinced.

League officials are putting the finishing touches on the announcement, though I am told the league’s Board of Governors has yet to put its stamp on it. Could this lead to a delay? Sure, but just like the Seattle expansion news (which you read first on SBI and which wound up being delayed by almost two months), Philadelphia expansion is happening. In a league where simple trades wind up getting delayed by a week because of red tape, it isn’t a surprise to see such a major announcement getting stuck in the MLS mud.

Here is a question. What will you be looking forward to the most about a Philadelphia expansion franchise? Visiting a new stadium? Enjoying a new rivalry? Having an excuse to travel near Atlantic City? A chance to have some quality cheesesteaks?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. professional soccer in philly won’t fail. there’s way too much ethnic diversity, a huge soccer community, a mature soccer generation of thousands who played 10, 20 30 years ago who know the sport and have their own kids who play, and a convenient location right off a major interstate that will be easy to get to. south jersey and delaware will draw significant numbers as well. with about 4 million people within an hour’s drive, who cares about eagles fans and phillies fans — there definitely is a place for soccer to succeed in philadelphia.

  2. Phillly is blue collar town, no one is going to support soccer in this town. It lacks large immigrant groups that largely fill mls stadiums.

  3. I’m mostly excited about seeing yet another team who will win a title before RBNY/Metrostars win one…anyone I do enjoy the verbal gymnastics attempting to explain away 12 years of futility.

  4. I have a 6-year old son who loves soccer, and taking him to MLS games in the Philadelphia area will be great for him and the hundreds of thousands of other youth players in the Delaware Valley who are just like him. I agree with one of the posts here that people outside of Philadelphia are grossly underestimating the influence the youth soccer clubs will have on attendance figures. I am assuming that the core of the new owners’ business model for attracting fans will be to market heavily to all of the local youth clubs. I have no doubt that the presence of an MLS club will cause the Philly youth club scene to explode in growth. Also, Philly is not a city with only a few soccer pubs. They are everywhere in Center City and they are always packed.

  5. scott 47A… you’re a little correct in that it’s dumbfounding how some of the old money in st. louis hasn’t ponied up to put a team here, considering the potential and the ridiculous amount of money that some of these people have… I just wish that the MLS insiders (who are obviously more biased to having teams on the coast) would have taken a more hands on role in drumming up interest with potential St. Louis buyers… I mean even Ives kind of gave a passive look to St. Louis and a more active consideration to Philly in his articles… I know it wasn’t intentional but it kinda sucks knowing that there won’t be a team in my hometown… I mean i’d sooner fly to London to catch a game than seattle, and that’s the truth!

  6. Scott A:

    The stadium will be around a 10-15 minute drive on 95 South from Philadelphia Int’l Airport (which translates to about a 25 minute drive south from Center City). Unfortunately, I don’t think there will be any train/mass transit from Center City to the new stadium.


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