Major League Soccer announces St. Louis expansion franchise

St. Louis known for its Gateway Arch is set to become the home of a Major League Soccer expansion team

St. Louis known for its Gateway Arch is set to become the home of a Major League Soccer expansion team

Major League Soccer has awarded an expansion franchise to St. Louis, Missouri, the league announced on Tuesday. According to the ownership group, no tax increment Financing (TIF) or any direct citywide tax investment will be needed to finance the stadium project.

Led by members of the founding family of auto rental giant Enterprise, the city began to work anew last fall on its pitch for a professional soccer team.

The as yet-unnamed St. Louis MLS team was given the go-ahead just 10 months after submitting its bid to MLS, a timeframe league commissioner Don Garber described as unprecedented. "It is with great pride we welcome St Louis".

Along with being the 28th team, the St. Louis team will also be the first female-majority owned soccer expansion as well. "This is great news for local families and businesses, St. Louis is a flawless Major League Soccer city".

Led by members of the founding family of vehicle rental company Enterprise, the new club joins the Stanley Cup ice hockey champions St Louis Blues and 11-time World Series baseball champions Cardinals as the city's major sports teams. Five of the 11 players that defeated England at the 1950 World Cup were from St. Louis, and the city has produced 29 players and coaches who have been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The club will open play in a privately financed downtown stadium.

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As proof the city is all-in on the project, the St. Louis Board of Alderman easily approved a resolution last November to provide tax exemptions and other incentives to help with the construction.

Carolyn Kindle Betz, senior vice president of auto rental giant Enterprise Holdings, is the leader of the group.

St. Louis has always been a hotbed for youth soccer.

The men's national team has a friendly against Uruguay scheduled for September 10 at Busch Stadium. "After two decades of discussions about St. Louis being a part of our league, today the moment has arrived".

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.

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