Expansion Talk – San Jose and Philly

Expansion Talk – San Jose and Philly

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On May 3, 2007

After a few weeks of nothing on the MLS expansion front, I get two solid days of information coming my way about possibly expansion sites for the MLS.

Today we shift our focus back once more to San Jose and to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

First with the Bay Area; some decent news for Lee Wolfe, the man who wants the Quakes back in the Bay Area, got a bit of a gift yesterday as the owners of NFL’s San Francisco 49ers said they are cool to the idea of having the San Jose Earthquakes play at their new stadium in Santa Clara.

For those who aren’t familiar with the lovely Bay Area, Santa Clara is mighty close to San Jose. But the bad news is that this new stadium is a NFL stadium. Not something the MLS wants a new club to play in really.

Wolff said he is still working on a site in San Jose, however he said of the 49ers idea:

“We have some things we’d like to share with the city when we’re ready, and see if it works out. And if it doesn’t, so be it,” said Wolff, adding that he would prefer his soccer franchise to play in a soccer-only stadium with a capacity of about 20,000.
But he said if San Jose stadium sites don’t work out, the 49ers “would be a very logical group to talk to. Plus, I like them a lot.”

The only way I see the league going for such a deal is if the team is able to make any money from playing there. If some sort of deal can work out that they get free rent for a few years until they can secure their own place then I believe the MLS front office would go for such an idea. Until then I have trouble believing the league would go through this sort of deal. Although, it does sound a little better than what the club had to deal with when it came to playing in a college stadium owned by a school who wouldn’t do crap for them.

Shift the focus back east, to Philly.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said yesterday that the idea of bringing a team to Philly is not yet dead. Since the deal for a team to be housed in the Rowan University site in South Jersey fell through, the league is looking for someone else to shell out the cash for the team and another place to house them or build a stadium on. I know the league wants to be in this market and it makes perfect sense to be there. However the city is far away from bringing a team in I think.

Maybe in 15 years we will see MLS soccer in Philly. Until then the league needs to continue it’s focus on getting a team back in the Bay Area, one in the Northwest and one in either Phoenix or St. Louis.

As always, I do remind you all that the league has stated they want to add three more teams by 2010. That date is rapidly approaching so we can probably assume that we will at least get one city (if not two) very soon. I would say the rumor mill and the press releases about these couple cities will be working hard from now until the all-star game this summer.

It was around this time last year that it was announced that the league would be expanding to Toronto. I believe the date was May 11 to be exact. I am not saying we will hear something on that date, but sometime soon I can imagine, something will come out somewhere.