Wake Up, MLS

Last night I found this article on Yahoo! and well, it kind of made me mad.  As you know, I’m Missourian and I live in St. Louis.  The same St. Louis who desperately deserves an MLS Franchise but isn’t getting one.  I can’t quite understand why Don Garber keeps at team out of the Gateway to the West, but he does in favor of places like Montreal and a second team in Los Angeles.  I’m going to make a case for a team in St. Louis because to me, it’s all common sense.

First off, St. Louis is a soccer hotbed in this country.  Let’s just take a look at all the players who have come from the area:

Brian McBride, who scored 30 goals in 96 appearances for the US National Team was an All-American at St. Louis University.

Mike Sorber who donned the US jersey 67 times over 7 years also played for the Billikens.

SLU also has more NCAA Men’s titles than any other university in the country with 10.

Current Seattle Sounders Forward Pat Noonan is a native of St. Louis.

Former Men’s National Team player Steve Ralston is from St. Louis.

Chris Klein, who currently plays for the LA Galaxy and is a veteran of 23 National Team games, is from St. Louis.

It’s also worth noting that about half the team who defeated England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup was from St. Louis, including Harry Keough and Pee Wee Wallace.

You get the idea, we have produced our fair share of fine soccer players over the years.  I could continue but I’ll move on.

The St. Louis Soccer United is a group dedicated to bringing an MLS team to the city and they’re doing everything they can do.  They have secured a 400-acre piece of land that would be used to build a stadium and “mixed-use development area.”  The movement also has the support of one of the biggest stars in professional sports, Albert Pujols.

Now, looking at the MLS attendance figures from the past couple of year the cross-state Kansas City Wizards have the lowest average in the league.  Upon further inspection, they play their games in Community America Ballpark, which as you might have been able to tell from the name, is a baseball stadium.  It’s a two year temporary home while their new stadium is being constructed.  The Wizards are at capacity for almost every game and, having been to a game there myself, it’s a great place to see a game despite the fact that it’s not a soccer-specific stadium.

If/When the MLS decides to put a team in St. Louis, there will be a perfect natural rivalry with the Wizards and another with the Chicago Fire since St. Louis and Chicago don’t agree on anything.  In each of the past two years the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire, two other Midwest teams, have averaged about 14,700 fans per game.  I think it’s very reasonable to to expect a team in St. Louis to do the same.  Columbus also hosted the US Men’s Team several times during World Cup Qualifying including a huge match against Mexico.

There are many reasons why the MLS should expand to St. Louis.  We would support the team, we would love the team and it would be successful.  Keep the teams in the USA and bring another one to Missouri.

8 Responses

  1. I’ll buy in to that. They used to have a team years ago (St Louis Stars). Perhaps it is time to renew the relationship.

  2. classic

    MLS in the US ? Something of an oxymoron don’t you think ? One man has an interest in at least 6 MLS teams and that’s meant to be competitive and advantageous ? Who the hell is Don Garber kidding ?

    All show and very little substance to the league !

    Alan Parkins

  3. I remember going to see the Stars play! St. Louis has a long, long history of loving their teams. Even the bad ones (ahem: RAMS!) They support the team and love the athletes. They also have a very strong youth league, city league, and high school leagues – no doubt the fans are there. I agree whole-heartedly! Soccer in St. Louis!!

  4. Have you guys checked out AC St. Louis? You didn’t mention them once in this article… I’m not suggesting that it is the same thing as having an MLS team, but many teams have jumped to MLS from the lower divisions in recent years (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, etc…).

    Also, it’s my belief that the league DOES want a St. Louis team, just like it wants a Miami team. But the reason STL doesn’t have one yet is because the ownership group behind the bid is not quite up to the league’s financial standards. In this era of rapid expansion and growth, the last thing that MLS needs is a story of a team failing, and Garber is doing everything he can to prevent that from happening.

    I think eventually an MLS team will call St. Louis home, but it is going to take drive and effort from the supporters (as well as a more solid ownership group). Sons of Ben willed into existence a team of their own… a STL supporters group could likely do the same, if there is as much passion for the sport in the city as you suggest.

    The only other thing I’d like to mention is that you omitted Taylor Twellman from the list of notable STL soccer players. He’s the fastest player to reach 100 goals in league history (granted, he’s on the shelf right now with post-concussion issues).

    • Hey TJ,
      Thanks for the comment. I did look into AC St. Louis as I wanted some attendance figures for them but I wasn’t able to find any. It certainly isn’t the same thing, but it is a good start. With the possibility of Albert Pujols joining the ownership group, they may be able to get the money in order.

      We have been finalists for a team several times, when teams went to Chicago and Miami, this team in Philly, so it’s just a matter of time.

      I did leave off Taylor Twellman and that was just a mistake on my part. I was trying to go on memory, I probably left out several players. I wish Twellman had gotten a better shot with the National Team, all he does is score goals. There’s always a spot on a team for goalscorer.

      Good comment.

  5. Mark and Buzz Demling also had strong careers in the NASL as did the STL Steamers in the MISL. There is a good strong base of support in the area. It needs the right management to succeed.

  6. I think you meant “and a second team in [New York]”, not Los Angeles. But, I agree. A team in St. Louis just makes sense.

    • I was actually referring to Chivas coming into the league in 2004 when the Galaxy were already in LA.

      But I’m glad you agree that St. Louis needs a team!

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