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St. Louis announced as newest MLS expansion market

After decades of waiting, Major League Soccer will finally have a home in St. Louis.

MLS formally announced St. Louis as the league’s 28th team on Tuesday, awarding the Missouri city an expansion franchise in a move that has been inevitable ever since a strong ownership group finally emerged in a market MLS has long targeted.

“It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “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.”

“Our ownership group has come a long way since we first announced our bid last October at Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club, and it’s an incredible feeling to now be able to say, St. Louis is home to the first official majority female-led ownership group in MLS,”said Kindle Betz. “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.”

The St. Louis team will begin play in MLS in 2022, with a new stadium set to be built in the Downtown West district of St. Louis.

Tuesday’s announcement ends years of failed attempts to bring MLS to St. Louis, a process that endured several close calls and unsuccessful ownership group bids. The city looked like it might have had its last chanced thwarted in 2017 when voters rejected a stadium funding referendum that would have helped fund a proposed stadium project.

A year later, the current ownership group emerged, featuring the type of financial muscle that past St. Louis groups didn’t have. That made choosing St. Louis an easy call for a league that had tried on several occasions to bring a team to the city.

MLS is currently at 24 teams, with Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC set to begin play in 2020, and Austin FC kicking off as the league’s 27th team in 2021.

With the 28th expansion spot now filled, MLS will turn its attention to filling two more slots to expand the league to 30 teams. Sacramento is the front-runner to be next on the list of cities to be awarded a team, with Charlotte rapidly emerging as a strong contender to secure one of the remaining spots. Phoenix, Las Vegas and Raleigh, North Carolina are also among the other contenders for the next two expansion slots.


  1. Making 40 top flight teams is pretty incredible. Would be a giant mistake, and they should shift focus onto making pro/rel a feasible thing. Stop at 30 and then work on a 10 league lower division. Once that is up and running and consistent with all 10 lower league teams having a stadium worthy of being legit (don’t ask me what qualifies that because obviously I don’t have the answer), then introduce pro/rel and then eventually turning the 30+10 leagues into a 20+20 league with pro/rel.

  2. My question is do they stop at 30? I think it is smart to stop there or even now. A parity league is only going to be as strong as your weakest link. If you had a two teams league right now, the average team would be midway between Atlanta and LAFC.

    But maybe you get to 40? You could do home and home, two divisions, two winners play a 3 or 5 games series for the title. Remember baseball used to have no interleague play. Maybe they do that at 2×15 team leagues. Very exciting.
    I don’t anticipate it going that route, just dreaming of what could be. I don’t think anyone predicted this even 5 years ago. Guys like me were very optimistic, and 100% confident on MLS getting there someday…..but not this optimistic on number of teams and especially on the talent levels being reached, and this quickly.
    Hats off to Don and all of MLS.

    • 3 to 5 match playoff? Two divisions that only play in the final? Are you stuck in 1995? This expansion was pretty clear 8 to 10 years ago (from 2007-2012 the league added 7 teams in 6 years) the popularity of soccer in America has as much to do with the access to European Leagues on basic American cable as it does to the product on the pitch.


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