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.