The MLS is expanding at a fever pace, and yet the birthplace of American soccer remains irrelevant. How did St. Louis fail so hard?
With the announcement that FC Cincinnati will be joining MLS at the start of next season, the ranks of American club soccer continue to grow, and will continue to grow, with Detroit and Sacramento leading the charge, San Antonio in the mix and Nashville already awarded a franchise, everything is coming along nicely.
Except for St. Louis. St. Louis, which is more or less the birthplace of American soccer, where the sport had found traction a century ago and boasted leagues upon leagues, both professionally (as professional as can be at that time) and recreational.
It was meant to be. And commissioner Don Garber seemed to know it as well. He spent so much time in St. Louis, trying to help with the effort.
It came so far and, long story short, it was put up to a two part vote for the citizens of St. Louis. A two-part vote, and in an event that is now history, the first part was approved and the second part was rejected.
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Just like that, the effort derailed. the MLS2STL movement faltered, the leadership fell apart and, suddenly, MLS was not going to be coming to St. Louis after all. In fact, it just completely died off. Having spoken to MLS2STL member Jim Woodcock on numerous occasions, I have since reached out to him about the future of the expansion effort, but there has been no response.
And it’s clear why – because the effort is dead. According to Dave Peacock, another person sharing the charge of bringing MLS to the Gateway to the West, there is nothing in the works. Here’s what he said in an interview:
"“Not at this time. I think the group that I was a part of has always said it remains open, especially if public leadership came forward and said that they want to make this a priority and want to get this done, but I think there are a lot of other priorities that are happening right now.“I’d never say never, but I’d say at this point no idea or concept has been brought forward. And those buildings and projects for MLS aren’t getting any cheaper. The LAFC building was, I think, $300 million-plus, and it’s supposed to be really spectacular. But, fortunately or unfortunately, that’s the direction a lot of those projects are going.”"
That’s that. 100+ years of history and a community that loves the sport and there is next to no hope of seeing MLS arrive. Hopefully things change, but it doesn’t seem likely.