Major League Soccer awards expansion franchise to St. Louis

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The Missouri club will be the 28th team in MLS, and the first led by a female majority ownership group
The Missouri club will be the 28th team in MLS, and the first led by a female majority ownership group

Major League Soccer has awarded an expansion franchise to St. Louis, Missouri, the league announced on Tuesday.

The team will begin play in 2022 in a brand-new downtown stadium, with MLS previously announcing that the expansion fee for the new team had been set at $200 million.

“It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a league release. “St. Louis is a city with a rich soccer tradition, and it is a market we have considered since the league’s inception.

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"Our league becomes stronger today with the addition of the city’s deeply dedicated soccer fans, and the committed and innovative local ownership group led by Carolyn Kindle Betz, the Taylor family, and Jim Kavanaugh.”

Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Kindle Betz and six other female members of the Taylor family will make the St. Louis franchise the first female majority-owned club in MLS history.

"It's an incredible feeling to now be able to say, St. Louis is home to the first official majority female-led ownership group in MLS,” said Kindle Betz.

“Our MLS team and stadium will only add to St. Louis’ renaissance currently underway and will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people in their love for the game.”

The addition of St. Louis continues a rapid expansion for the North American league, with 18 clubs having joined MLS since 2005.

FC Cincinnati joined the league this season as the 24th team, with Inter Miami and Nashville SC to bring that total up to 26 next year, and Austin FC making it 27 in 2021. 

MLS had previously stated its intention to bring the league up to 28 teams but earlier this season, the league announced it would be expanding to 30 teams in the future. 

The race to be awarded teams 29 and 30 are now on and there are no shortage of candidates. 

Las Vegas, Sacramento, Charlotte, Raleigh and Phoenix are some of the cities who have expressed an interest in joining the league in the coming years. 

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