Major League Soccer is reportedly coming to the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Louis.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch MLS is ready to officially award the Missouri city a franchise as early as next week. Their multiple anonymous sources said the city has an event planned for next Tuesday.
St. Louis would be the 28th team in MLS and the league has current plan to expand to 30 teams over the next few years.
The prospective ownership group is led by Carolyn Kindle Betz, president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation, other members of Enterprise’s Taylor Family, and Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology and CEO the USL’s Saint Louis FC.
“Major League Soccer is responsible for the timing of any announcements around League expansion, but we remain confident St. Louis has made a strong case for a team,” the ownership group said in a statement.
St. Louis has had several attempts at landing an MLS team. Their first go was launched in 2017 when they were one of a dozen cities to submit applications. The bid was led by Kavanaugh and Boston-based investor Paul Edgerley. Their efforts fell apart when they failed to secure public funding for a stadium.
The Taylor family came in to revive the bid last year and they pledged to help fund a $250 million downtown stadium and cover the $200 million expansion fee. MLS commissioner Don Garber praised the effort during the league’s expansion meetings in New York City last month.
Garber also visited the city back in March to meet with the ownership group and potential sponsors and in April he announced that the league ws in “exclusive, formal” expansion discussions with both St. Louis and Sacramento. Finally, the comissioner said during the MLS All-Star Game last month in Orlando that the St. Louis expansion effort was moving quickly.
“Their project is amazing,” Garber told Fox Sports. “It’s a massive downtown stadium project. The Taylor family really is St. Louis.”
As for what the city already has, Saint Louis FC has been playing in the USL since the 2015 season. The team averages about 4,400 fans per game at Toyota Stadium in nearby Fenton, Missouri. The city also has a rich soccer tradition and has hosted the U.S. Men’s National Team in World Cup qualifying matches as recently as 2015 and as far back as 1989.
The new St. Louis expansion team would aim to begin play in the 2022 MLS season.