With the new season fast approaching attention turned away from preseason preparations for a day. The next round of MLS expansion is coming fast and it looks like 12 American cities will be fighting it out for one of four coveted invitations to join Major League Soccer. 12 cities submitted bids, and in the coming months, they will aim to convince MLS owners that their combination of market, stadium and ownership groups should be chosen. MLS has said it will select two cities later this year , with the other two to be chosen at a later date. The four new additions will bring MLS to a nice number at 28 teams.
The 12 Cities Submitting Bids -
Charlotte, Nashville, Raleigh,
Indianapolis, Detroit, Pheonix,
St Louis, San Antonio, Sacramento,
Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, San Diego
The Soccermogul Favorites -
St Louis - Given the long history of support for the game, St. Louis has all the makings of an ideal MLS city. The departure of the NFL's Rams to Los Angeles would appear to create a sporting vacuum that the prospective ownership group would love to exploit.
Phoenix - The owners have plans for a climate controlled stadium on a 45 acre site that is already under contract. Also Phoenix is the largest city in the US without an MLS team, and the fact that its stadium site has been secured is a big plus.
Sacramento - The plan for a downtown stadium has already been approved by the city council. Having existed as USL team Sacramento Republic since 2012 and with a stadium plan in place, Sacramento appears to have ticked all the boxes.
San Diego - There's a clear void here with the Chargers leaving. An extravagant stadium is in the works and Dan Garber seems to be pushing for SD.
So let the presentations, politics and bidding process begin. Hopefully we will see four succesful new clubs joining the ranks of Major League Soccer in the next few years!