Commissioner cites St. Louisans' love of soccer as reason city c - KMOV.com

Commissioner cites St. Louisans' love of soccer as reason city could host team

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A World Cup Qualifier was held at Busch Stadium in November (Credit: KMOV) A World Cup Qualifier was held at Busch Stadium in November (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Major League Soccer (MLS) officials are planning to start searching for a stadium site in downtown St. Louis.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, MLS will begin their search immediately. There are also reports the league is starting to look for potential owners.

In a letter to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Commissioner Donald Garber wrote that he was "surprised (and disappointed) with the news of the Rams leaving St. Louis." 

"During our time together in May of last year, I expressed our commitment and excitement with regard to Major League Soccer in St. Louis," Garber wrote. "In the wake of the recent developments, I want to reaffirm my personal commitment to this effort, but more importantly, my strong belief that people in St. Louis love the sport and that the city has the potential to be a great MLS market." 

Click here to read Garber's letter

Garber continued by stating that he is looking forward to working with St. Louis officials to investigate the possibility of bringing a team to the area. 

After receiving Garber’s letter, Mayor Slay responded by writing about St. Louis’ “rich soccer history.”

“St. Louis has always had an extremely active and competitive amateur soccer community,” Mayor Slay wrote. “In 1950, when the U.S. Beat England 1-0 at the World Cup, five of the 11 starters were St. Louisans.”

In his letter, Mayor Slay also mentioned the high attendance that was seen at soccer matches in St. Louis in recent years. In 2013, the match-up between Manchester City and Chelsea sold 10,000 tickets, and 54,000 tickets were sold to the 2015 match between Real Madrid and Inter Milan. He went on to mention that St. Louis was one of the strongest local television markets for the Women’s World Cup in 2015.

Click here to read Mayor Slay's letter

“St. Louis is one of the strongest soccer markets in the United States and an excellent candidate from MLS expansion. I look forward to working together to bring the MLS to St. Louis,” read Mayor Slay’s conclusion.  

Last year, MLS added two teams and they plan to add four more in the upcoming years. The league’s commissioner said a team could be in St. Louis as soon as 2020, but there is no guarantee one will come to the area.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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