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.

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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 SI.com 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.

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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).

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

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

Maybe

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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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?

Maybe

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 won the Super Bowl during the 1999 season.  But football in St. Louis has had too many down years; from 1960 to 1987 the Football Cardinals only went to the post-season 3 times and never hosted a playoff game, in which the team move to Arizona follow the 1987 season. While the Rams only have 4 winning seasons and have not had a winning season since 2003.  

Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz were appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon 2 years ago to create a stadium task force to build a 1 billion dollar stadium in hopes to keep the Rams in St.Louis or at least bring another NFL team to St. Louis such as the Raiders or the Jaguars, but there’s no guarantee the NFL owners will allow the city a third chance of another franchise, which begs the question “Is it time for St. Louis to Give up on the NFL  in favor of a Major League Soccer team?  Josh Shippie, a local writer wrote about the idea of bringing a Major League Soccer team to St.Louis and letting the Rams move back to L.A, back in July.An MLS team could tap into that fan base and draw a loyal following that could rival any MLS squad. In American football, fan bases can lose interest rather quickly, but not in actual football. Actual football fans are supporters for life, through thick and thin. Look at NYCFC and their floundering first season, which has not at all deterred fans from raucously voicing their opinions about the MLS’s newest child.”

During the 2015 Women’s World Cup St.Louis were consistency ranked in the top three viewership according to Nielsen ratings. Bringing a Major League Soccer club to St. Louis could add more value to the city that already has a rich history that goes back to the early 20th Century.  The U.S. Men’s World Cup team in 1950 which pulled off one of the great 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. 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 the MLS, like Mike Sorber, Matt Pickens, Brad Davis, Taylor Twellman, TIm Ream and Steve Ralston.  The St.Louis Steamers of the old Major Indoor Soccer League played at the old Arena from 1979 to 1988 and at one point the team out drew the St.Louis Blues in four consecutive season in 1980-82 through 1983-84.  The city currently have two pro soccer team The St. Louis Ambush, that plays in the Major Arena Soccer League and Saint Louis FC that are playing their first outdoor season under the United Soccer League, which is a Minor League team affiliated with the Chicago Fire.  Both franchises have done well with their attendance averaging between 4,000-6,000 fans. In the past St.Louis has hosted friendly matches at Busch Stadium, most recently in April the U.S. Women’s National team played against New Zealand and will host another International Friendly when the U.S. Men’s teams plays in November. 

As the Missouri State Legislators grapple the cost of the stadium, time is in the essence on whether Stadium Task Force lead by Dave Peacock can come up with funding for the new stadium at the Riverfront in downtown St.Louis in hopes in keeping the Rams. If not then Peacock should focus on building a Soccer Specific Stadium that would cost a lot less than the current billion dollar stadium. In the last 16 years Major League Soccer have seen the birth of Soccer Specific Stadiums which started in 1999 when the Columbus Crew played their first home games and have hosted U.S. Friendly International match since it was built.

The price ranges are that can be privately funded, cost around $90 million to 300 million dollars and could play host to International Friendly Matches, such as the U.S. Women’s or Men’s soccer matches.  St.Louis is the second largest Midwest city that doesn’t have a Major League Soccer team. The value of an MLS team in St.Louis could end up ranking within the 5 in of the currently 20 teams in the league if a team is awarded in the next couple of years. Also the city could end up with the National Women’s Soccer league which saw a huge increase of fans after the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team, winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup.  Early this past summer Saint Louis FC played Sporting Kansas City in front of a packed sell out crowd in Kansas City, imaged if the two teams played each other year after year in St.Louis? 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. While Dave Peacock and The Stadium Task Force tries in to come up with funding for a new stadium, he might want to consider as a backup plan and bring in another sport to St.Louis. While losing another NFL team for the second time in less than 30 years would be a huge black eye for the city, a Major League Soccer team could heal the wounds and would generate a brand new fan base in Part of Missouri and Southern Illinois.

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