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MLS to announce St. Louis as expansion team winner, sources say

Ben Frederickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Soccer

ST. LOUIS -- Major League Soccer plans to announce next week that St. Louis has secured an expansion team, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the league's expansion timeline.

Sources spoke on condition of anonymity, as the St. Louis ownership group and MLS have not publicized the announcement.

Plans have been made for an event Tuesday in St. Louis.

MLS leaders declined comment Wednesday.

The ownership group released a statement: "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."

League commissioner Don Garber's praise of St. Louis has been overflowing lately, especially during the MLS All-Star Game two weeks ago in Orlando, Florida.

 

Garber called the ownership group's expansion effort "amazing" after the St. Louis group's presentation to the league's full board of owners in Orlando.

That presentation was a condensed version of the ownership group's meeting with the league's expansion committee last month at league headquarters in New York City, which came after Garber and top league officials met with ownership group members in both St. Louis and New York.

The St. Louis ownership group, spearheaded by Carolyn Kindle Betz, president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation, and Jim Kavanaugh, CEO of World Wide Technology, presented a plan to the league that included a primarily privately funded downtown stadium and a majority female ownership group.

Named "MLS4TheLou," the ownership group led by Betz, Kavanaugh and other members of Enterprise's Taylor family revived a previous failed effort to secure an MLS team for St. Louis. The city has a rich soccer tradition that has long been on the radar of MLS, increasingly so after the Rams football team left in 2016.

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