Saint Louis FC should have a soccer match at Busch Stadium

Saint Louis FC is currently having solid season on and off the field with the team contending the Western Conference standing.  Since the Rams moved back to Los Angeles the team have received local exposure throughout the St.Louis area and remains a candidate in landing a Major League Soccer expansion team for sometime now since the League started in 1996. Throughout much of the season fans have come out to near full capacity at World Wide Technology Field which up to 6,000. However to better the cities chances in get a Major League Soccer team Saint Louis FC should play at Busch Stadium at a minimum of two games. Now, having a soccer match at a baseball stadium is not the ideal place to play but Busch stadium has staged International Friendly Matches, most recently in Nov. 2015 when the U.S. Men’s National Team played and beat St.Vincent and Grenadines 6-1 in which 37,000 fans attended the match.  Another reason for hosting a match at Busch stadium is, FC Cincinnati who are in their first season in the United Soccer League, are currently having a historic league attendance record averaging 17,000 soccer fans in Cincinnati.


FC Cincinnati currently plays at Nippert Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati that seats up to 40,000 and on July 16, FC Cincinnati will play Crystal Palace from the English Premier League, which the game is expected to have over 20,000. Saint Louis FC could benefit a great deal of exposure by playing an International Friendly Match at Busch stadium if they played a match against an English Premier League team like Sutherland, Leicester City or Swansea City because the League have enjoyed some of the best t.v. ratings since switching from Fox Sports Net to NBC Sports Network 3 years ago. The MLS is planning to expand to 28 teams and while St.Louis remains a safe bet to be one of the cities to land a team it won’t be a guarantee if Cincinnati continues to average 17,000 in which Commissioner Don Garber will take note.


Don Garber wants a Major League Soccer team in St.Louis Badly

Sports fans in St.Louis received some very encouraging news when the story broke out on Thursday night that Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, revealed to St.Louis Post Dispatch writer David Hunn, that the League is currently searching a soccer specific stadium in downtown and gather potential owners for a future expansion team. There’s no doubt that the ball is rolling rather fast for a city that recently had their hearts ripped out of their chest, when the NFL allowed the Rams to move to Los Angeles but some see the MLS move as a desperate attempt from the aftershock and lets face it, since the league started in 1996 St.Louis has failed in 3 attempts in getting a Major League Soccer franchise so right now there is reason to suspect. I believe the opposite and I believe it will happen.

Don Garber wants a Major League Soccer team in St.Louis badly and even though he said that the team could start playing in 2020, who’s to say that the team could play in 2018 and replace Miami as the 24th team in Major League Soccer? Miami Principal owner David Beckham can’t find and stadium sight for his yet to be named team. And sorry Sacramento and San Antonio; two cities who are supposedly ahead of St.Louis that already have an ownership, investors and stadium sight, but soccer history is on the side of St.Louis.

Professional soccer started locally in 1891 which many soccer clubs were started by local Churches and parishes. In 1950 five of the eleven players on the from the historic Italian town, ” The Hill” neighborhood in St. Louis, lead The U.S. Men’s World Cup team to an upset victory against England 1-0, 29 Native 29 St. Louisans have been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and you have two well supported local soccer teams, the St.Louis Ambush of the Major Arena Soccer League and Saint Louis FC of the United Soccer League.

Don Garber is going through greater length to prove to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who didn’t make an effort in keeping the Rams St.Louis, that the city is a solidly good sports town that fans can go out support and appreciate. There will be some roadblocks from local leaders over stadium cost once again though it won’t be as big of a battle because the stadium cost will be a lot lesser than the proposed 1.1 billion dollars NFL stadium. And should he identify an owner with very deep pockets, it would be worth the city’s investment in making St.Louis a true soccer capital than trying lure another NFL team.


San Diego will get a Pro Soccer team But Will it be the NASL?

Pro Soccer in San Diego will happen very soon but which League? Like St.Louis, San Diego is about to suffer the same fate by losing their NFL team, the Chargers to Los Angeles and, should that happen, the city will only have one pro sports team the Padres. Immediately after the NFL approved the Rams to move to Los Angeles, St.Louis became the talk of Major League Soccer official and coaches as a candidate to land an expansion team in the near future along with San Diego. While San Diego doesn’t have a deep history of soccer like St.Louis, pro soccer in San Diego have been in the past, very successful with the success of the San Diego Sockers, who won 10 Major Indoor Soccer League titles, which were lead by great players like Victor Nogueira, Juli Veee, Brian Quinn and the legendary Steve Zungul.

Former San Diego Padres owner John Moores reportedly was finalizing a deal to buy Everton FC of England’s Premier League and was looking to bring Major League Soccer to San Diego. But while Don Garber praised St.Louis’s chance in getting an MLS team, the commissioner shot down San Diego’s chance during an interview with Grant Wahl of Sport Illustrated in Baltimore during the MLS Superdraft; enter the North American Soccer League who announced their intentions to expand out west. The NASL expansion fees are lower than the MLS and wouldn’t necessary require to build a soccer specific stadium though it could be a challenge to have soccer matches at Qualcomm Stadium so it’s possible that a future NASL team in San Diego could share a soccer stadium with the University of California San Diego or University of San Diego. So while San Diego’s changes in getting an MLS team dimmed with the comments made by commissioner Garber chances are that John Moores will be looking at bringing pro soccer through the NASL and if it happens it would be a nice addition for the city.


How St. Louis can get a Major League Soccer team.

Now that NFL football is officially dead in St.Louis, the city that gave birth to soccer in America, can now focus on Bring a Major League Soccer franchise. The night the NFL announce the Rams were moving back to L.A., Merritt Paulson, owner of the Portland Timbers, tweeted MLS2STL and quickly became a popular hashtag on twitter. Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated and interviewed several MLS coaches, General Manager and asked one question: among the places that don’t have an MLS team, where would you like to see the MLS go and why? All of them unanimously picked St.Louis to be the city that deserves a team.

But despite the soccer history, since 1977 St.Louis, has lost 7 different Professional Soccer teams from the St.Louis Stars of the old North American Soccer League (NASL) and four Indoor Soccer teams. In 2009 Saint Louis Athletica a Professional Women’s Soccer team, that had notable Goal Keeper Hope Solo, folded after one season while A.C. St.Louis a 2nd division team under the United States Soccer Federation, that included both the United Soccer League and the newly formed North American Soccer League folded after the end of the 2010 season. Most of it was because St.Louis soccer franchises played in very unstable leagues like the NASL, Major Indoor Soccer League, National Professional Soccer League, Word Indoor Soccer League and the Women’s Professional Soccer. In the case of A.C. St.Louis, Saint Louis Athletica, Jeff Cooper who started both of these clubs was hardly nowhere to be found and the team folded under unmanageable financial strain.

So how can St.Louis get a Major League Soccer team?

1) Fan Support: One of the things that League Officials from Major League Soccer will be looking at is fan support. Saint Louis FC will begin its 2nd season under the United Soccer League which is a Minor League Soccer team that’s affiliated with the Chicago Fire. It is important for fans in St.Louis to come out in droves for the upcoming 2016 season and, show their support of the team. Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Orlando and Montreal all got their start under the United Soccer League and were awarded a Major League Soccer team partly because of fan support.

2) Investors/Owners: Expansion fees for a Major League Soccer team cost $100 million dollars Dave Peacock, who was the driving force in trying to Keep the Rams in St.Louis with his stadium proposal, is rumor to have secured investors/owners for an MLS team. Jim Kavanaugh who currently is the Chairman of Saint Louis FC told KSDK sports reporter Frank Cusumano that in order for a Major League Soccer team to happen in St.Louis it needs to be in a similar in fashion in the way how the St.Louis Blues are run under Tom Stillman with 12 investors. Hopefully one of them is the Taylor Family who owns Enterprise Car Rentals in Clayton MO and who are worth 9.1 Billion dollars.

3) Stadium: Originally Dave Peacock along with Bob Blitz proposed to build a 1.1. billion dollar stadium at the North Riverfront to Keep the Rams in St.Louis. A Soccer Specific Stadiums cost between $80 million to 200 million. With the Rams leaving, the North Riverfront can still be revitalize without public financing for a new stadium.

4) Politicians: One of the reason why the Stadium proposal failed is that St.Louis City Leaders and County Leaders don’t often agree and don’t get alone with one another. Both City and County Leaders needs to put whatever differences they have in an effort to Bring Major League Soccer to St.Louis.

St.Louis has a case to for a Major League Soccer team if all of the following list that I wrote comes into fruition. Just because St.Louis has a strong history soccer an expansion franchise from Major League Soccer is not given. It is earned by supporting Saint Louis FC, attracting investors/owners, a stadium plan and politicians coming together. This is the only way to truly make St.Louis the soccer capital in America.


Forget the NFL St.Louis Let’s Go after a Major League Soccer Franchise!

St.Louis sports fans, the message was clear this past week coming from a written letter from Silent Stan Kroenke, the man who 6 years ago told everybody in St.Louis to relax the Rams are staying, is now telling fans that I’m taking the Rams back to L.A. and you fans are living and a dying city in his 29 page recommendation to the NFL, that the team must move now. He won’t mention that his team hasn’t had a winning season since the first term of George W. Bush Presidency.

I give a lot of credit for Dave Peacock, Bob Blitz and Governor Nixon for putting up a stadium plan to keep the Rams in St.Louis and they deserve a lot of credit for doing so. But NFL people such as executive vice president Eric Grubman, one month ago told St. Louis sports radio host Bernie Miklasz for a 43-minute discussion, that St.Louis have not submitted a “compelling proposal” to prevent the Rams from leaving. In other words: St.Louis haven’t dish out enough money to build a new stadium and the relationship between a team and its current fan base isn’t a compelling enough.

He’s my advice to St.Louis sports fans, forget about NFL and lets go after a Major League Soccer team. St.Louis has a long soccer history that goes way back to 1891 when the city started its own soccer league which many soccer clubs were started by local Churches and parishes and later local retail companies and manufacturing companies. The U.S. Men’s World Cup team in 1950, which pulled off one of the great upsets in World Cup Soccer History against England 1-0, had five of the eleven players on the from the historic Italian town The Hill neighborhood in St. Louis. Saint Louis University Billikens have won a record 12 NCAA National Championship is Soccer. There are currently 29 players from St.Louis that have been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame and several current or former players played in Major League Soccer, like Mike Sorber, Matt Pickens, Brad Davis, Taylor Twellman, Tim Ream and Steve Ralston. Lets also remember our beloved St.Louis Steams who played in the old Major Indoor Soccer League from 1979 to 1988 and at one point outdrew the St.Louis Blues in four consecutive season in 1980-82 through 1983-84.

My advice for Dave Peacock is to focus a plan to build a privately funded soccer specific stadium on the Riverfront between the ranges of $80 million to $200 million dollars. Perhaps he should include Saint Louis University as part of the deal to share the stadium with the Billikens soccer program and a future MLS team. Last month Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced that the League will expand to 28 teams and, the value of an MLS team in St.Louis could end up ranking within the five in part of the history of soccer in St.Louis. Last summer Saint Louis FC played Sporting Kansas City in front of a packed sell out crowd in Kansas City, Kansas. The two cities can continue with the I-70 derby in which the both towns could reap the benefits of a natural soccer rivalry match. Right now the NFL is the King of American Sports and losing NFL team in less than 30 years will suck. But lets think long term, in 10-15 year the NFL will be losing popularity and it’s audience when you hear story’s of players suffer from concussions symptoms and paralysis. Let’s brings in some real football (futbol).


Is It time for St.Louis to Give up on the NFL in favor of an MLS team? Maybe


Is It time for St.Louis to Give up on the NFL in favor of an MLS team?


By Al Fannell

The St.Louis rams will begin their 20th and perhaps their last season and things have gotten off the wrong foot with only 37,000 fans showing up during their home preseason football games at the Edward Jones Dome against the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs. Granted it was only preseason football that featured a lot of players who won’t make the team, but clearly the attendance of both games will be used by Stan Kroenke, the owner the Rams who help move the team from Los Angeles in 1995, will use this to justify moving the team back to L.A. Football in St. Louis has had many ups during the 1970’s of the Air Don Coryell St. Louis Football Cardinals to The Greatest Show on Turf Rams who…

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