- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 2, 2010
- 4 Comments
- MLS Expansion
In case you missed it last week, All Things Footy (excellent site BTW) had a great series looking at numerous cites that could be targets for Major League Soccer’s 20th club. Kevin McCauley got site readers from all over to contribute why or why not their city should be in the running.
The discussion were pretty interesting. I’ve done posts like this in the past in most of these cities but this series went a step further which makes it really worth checking into.
Most of you know I’ve been fairly opinionated about the MLS expansion movement and where the league should go next and down the road. So seeing stuff like this easily sparked my interest and gave me fuel to talk a bit more on it.
I’ll start by continuing a bit off my earlier post about New York and the Cosmos. Until the league openly comes out and admits that a second club in New York won’t be the 20th team we probably should go ahead and assume that New York will be the 20th team for now. The ATF look at New York can be found here, it lists the usual pros and cons for the Big Apple.
From here out I’m pretty much going to be talking after club number 20. More than likely we won’t see any of these cities for at least five years, maybe more as I think once the league gets to 20 club they’ll stop their expansion movement for a few years unless some how the money presents itself in a few cities to kick it back up again.
We know the league needs and wants to be in the South, particularly in the southeast. There you have a few choices in Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, and Miami (the series also looks at the NC Triangle of Durham-Raleigh-Greensboro).
I’ll be honest here as I’ve always been about clubs in the south. You can’t just have one to make it successful. You must have at least two to three clubs in the south to really make it work for all involved. I say this because adding the southeast adds more travel for the clubs plus finding the right mix of cities will always be difficult to do for the league. The travel thing alone could be one of the biggest reason why the league won’t go to Miami or Atlanta for team number 20 (closest clubs to Miami will be Houston and D.C., over a 1000 miles away).
The best choices in my mind right now are Charlotte and Tampa. I love the idea of a team in Charlotte one day down the road. I’ve spent plenty of time in that city so I’d like to believe I know it could work having family there and having played some soccer there in my youth. People love the game there and if the right situation presents itself for the league there it really could work well. But again this one and Tampa are still a few years away from actually making sense.
One thing I was surprised with in this series was the lack of a discussion on San Antonio. I don’t know if the local supporter’s group there couldn’t be reached or what but believe me that is a city worth looking at down the road too. But is Phoenix? Or San Diego (yes I know its technically Californian and not Southwest but we’ll pretend for now).
Too many challenges for both if you ask me. I’ve always been intrigued by San Diego for the league. Some have suggested on multiple times to move Chivas USA down there but I’d rather see them get their own club rather than get a relocated one. Phoenix, like Las Vegas would only work if the stadium had a roof over the entire field, not just the stands.
Maybe in 15 years or so for those two.
No, no and no. With all due respect to each city of course. We already have a Columbus so Rochester makes little sense. Three teams in Canada probably give little reason to go to Ottawa now. And do we really want a team in the Silverdome? I don’t think so.
I still wouldn’t leave off cities like St. Louis, Nashville, or Minneapolis.