St. Louis MLS team
The St. Louis MLS team is a Major League Soccer expansion franchise that is expected to begin play in 2022. The club will be based in St. Louis, Missouri, with home matches at a planned 22,500-seat soccer-specific stadium.
|Founded||August 20, 2019|
|Stadium||St. Louis MLS stadium|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Owner||Carolyn Kindle Betz|
Jo Ann Taylor Kindle
|League||Major League Soccer|
Soccer has an established history at both the professional and amateur levels in Greater St. Louis for more than a century. In 2007, St. Louis was considered a possible relocation candidate for Real Salt Lake after the club founder announced he would sell the club if a new stadium was not built. The potential ownership group in St. Louis was led by Jeff Cooper, a local lawyer. From 2008 to 2009, Cooper attempted to bring an MLS expansion team to Greater St. Louis, only to have the bids turned down in favor of other cities. Despite approved stadium plans to build the $600 million Collinsville Soccer Complex, MLS was not impressed with the bid's financial backing and suggested Cooper expand his group of investors. Cooper instead launched a second division men's club and a Women's Professional Soccer franchise. AC St. Louis played only one season in Division 2 before folding in 2011 and the Saint Louis Athletica folded midway through its second season in 2010.
In late 2014, the city announced plans for a new stadium to host both American football and soccer. Garber stated in January 2015 that: "St. Louis has got a lot of activity going on with a stadium that they’re trying to get done for the NFL Rams. There's a big soccer community out there and we'd love to see a soccer stadium downtown like they're thinking about a football stadium." In May 2015, Garber visited St. Louis to talk about a possible new multi-purpose stadium that would be capable of holding soccer games. Garber cautioned that any possible expansion to St. Louis would occur after 2020. On January 12, 2016, the NFL's Rams relocated to Los Angeles after playing in St. Louis for twenty years. The Rams relocation initially accelerated the talks of an MLS expansion team.
In 2017, MLS began to consider adding a team in St. Louis, beginning in 2020. The proposed ownership group sought public funds to help build a $200 million soccer-specific stadium next to Union Station in downtown St. Louis. On January 26, 2017, a funding plan was approved by the city's Aldermanic Ways and Means Committee, and later by the entire Board of Aldermen, that would have directed $60 million in city tax revenue to the new stadium. Voters however rejected the plan in an April 4, 2017 referendum, leaving the city's MLS future in doubt.
In September 2018, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on a meeting between officials with the Missouri Department of Economic Development and MLS representatives regarding a stadium proposal; St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson later confirmed that a new group was trying to bring a team to St. Louis. St. Louis's MLS bid was effectively re-launched on October 9 of that year, with Carolyn Kindle Betz and other heirs to the Enterprise Rent-a-Car fortune as the primary investors. The stadium location remained the same as in the original 2016 location, near Union Station. On November 28, 2018, the Board of Aldermen's Housing, Urban Development, and Zoning Committee unanimously voted 8-0 to approve the stadium plan.
On August 20, 2019, MLS announced it had approved St. Louis as the league's 28th franchise and is expected to join in the 2022 season. As part of the ownership group consists of Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz and female members of the Taylor family, it became the first female majority-owned team in MLS.
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