How many markets are interested in a Major League Soccer expansion franchise these days?
Sacramento wants in. Oklahoma City thinks it deserves it. Charlotte has thrown its name out there. Indianapolis has been sniffing around. St. Louis has long been a desired destination. Detroit is interested, too.
In San Antonio, meanwhle, it's a group completely independent of the local team or city that's making the most MLS expansion-related noise this week. The supporters of the North American Soccer League's (NASL) San Antonio Scorpions have launched an online petition in an attempt to unify their efforts to bring MLS to town.
"We're giving San Antonio fans the opportunity to come together, in one single voice, and say, 'Yes, we are ready for Major League Soccer," Michael Macias, founder of the Crocketteers, a 1,500-member independent soccer supporters group based in San Antonio, told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday.
The petition, which launched on Sunday and you can find and sign for yourself here, is nearing 1,500 signatures in a little more than 72 hours. The goal is to push into the neighborhood of 15,000 or 20,00 signatures.
#MLSReady is the slogan for the Crocketteers' campaign, a statement that the infrastructure to host an expansion MLS team, which includes an already existing soccer-specific stadium built with future plans to expand to 18-plus in mind, is already in place.
"We can all see that there's a lot of candidate cities out there for expansion into Major League Soccer," Macias said. "But we think we have something better to say, and that is that San Antonio is MLS-ready. We're not just saying we want it, we think we're ready for it."
One of the centerpieces of a potential San Antonio expansion, according to Macias, would be the three-team Texas rivalry the Scorpions would create with Dallas and Houston, not too dissimilar to that of Seattle, Portland and Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest.
"Both leaders from the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas — Chris Canetti and Dan Hunt — have come out and supported a San Antonio team at the Major League Soccer level," said Macias, who started the group in 2009. "So we know we have them very interested in the market and what [San Antonio expansion] could do. Maybe it could be the next generation of the Cascadia Cup, down south."