MLS is finally coming to St. Louis

Bradley Piros, Sports Editor

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It’s been a long time coming, but as of yesterday, St. Louis will be rewarded the 28th team in Major League Soccer and will play their inaugural season in 2022.

The league has been growing significantly since 2004 adding clubs every other year or so. It’s a very different league than it was almost 15 years ago and has had its ups and downs. In 2004, league gave a second team to the Los Angeles in Chivas USA as well as a team in Salt Lake City, Real Salt Lake (RSL).

In 2005, the San Jose Earthquakes were put on a hiatus. That’s because they were unable to obtain a soccer specific stadium. Some cities allow the NFL and MLS teams to share a stadium, for instance, the Seattle Sounders. They share CenturyLink Field with the Seahawks and it’s one of the loudest stadiums in both sports. Either way, the players from San Jose and their coach were relocated to Houston and became the Houston Dynamo.

In 2007, Toronto FC played their first season and in 2008, San Jose resumed play. Speaking of the Sounders, they weren’t a thing until 2009. In 2010, Philadelphia began play after becoming the 16th franchise in the league. That same year, St. Louis lost the competing bid. St. Louis investor Jeff Cooper led the bid and there was even a stadium deal in Collinsville, Ill. but it lacked funding.

In 2011, the Vancouver

Whitecaps FC and Portland Timbers began play and are still one of the best rivalries in the league. In 2012, the league got its second Canadian team in the Montreal Impact. They now have a great rivalry with Toronto.

At the end of the 2014 regular season, Chivas USA were disbanded leaving the league with 20 teams. To make up for the loss, New York City was given a second team as New York City FC and Orlando was given a team as Orlando City FC in 2015.

The league took a year off before adding another two teams in 2017 with Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC. Last year, Los Angeles got their second team back with a brand new stadium and new name, Los Angeles FC. This current 2019 season, FC Cincinnati began play as the 25th team in the league.

The league has no intentions of slowing down either. Next year will be the debut of Inter Miami FC. They were announced back in 2014 as being led by an investment group including former player David Beckham. Also in 2020 will be the inaugural MLS season for Nashville SC. In 2021, Texas will get a third team in Austin FC.

That leads us up to today; MLS in St. Louis. After multiple failed attempts, it’s finally our time to shine. After the leaving of the Rams, the city has wanted more, and that’s what we got. We got an XFL team with more details being released today. We got a Stanley Cup and now we got an MLS team.

It’s a dream come true for most people in the city, including myself. I remember growing up and I went to my first and only MLS game when I was about 10. It was between the Kansas City Wizards and the Los Angeles Galaxy at Arrowhead Stadium. It was so long ago that I don’t even remember the score. I was just excited to see my favorite player of all-time:David Beckham.

Ever since then, I’ve wondered what it would be like if my city had a team, and now I get to find out in a couple of years. The city has two semi-pro teams right now. They have an indoor soccer team as the St. Louis Ambush, part of the Major Arena Soccer League. St. Louis also has Saint Louis FC, a team in the USL Championship league, and the league right below the MLS.

The city has had a long history with the sport and has an expanding fan base. The city didn’t have a big team, but still hosted big scale matches at Busch Stadium, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals. The first of those stadium games was back on May 23, 2013 when the Premier League giants Manchester City took on fierce rivals Chelsea in an exciting seven-goal thriller.

That same year, later on in November, the city hosted their first International match between Argentina and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was at this game as a kid with my Lionel Messi jersey on in a sea full of Bosnia fans.

Since then, the stadium has hosted both the men’s and women’s United States National teams and are hosting a USMNT team game on Sept. 10 when they take on Uruguay.

The point is, the city wouldn’t bother putting on these games if people weren’t going to show up, but they do. Whenever the national teams come to town, it’s usually a sellout. People are and have been ready for MLS in St. Louis and we’ve waited long enough. Now we just get to wait and see the name of our new club; I’m all for the St. Louis Archers.

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