It's official: Major League Soccer is coming to St. Louis.
St. Louis has been awarded an MLS expansion team, commissioner Don Garber announced Tuesday alongside the club's ownership group, including Carolyn Kindle Betz, the Taylor family and Jim Kavanaugh on Tuesday, as well as St. Louis city officials. With Betz and six other female members of the Taylor family part of the ownership group, St. Louis becomes the first female majority-owned club in MLS history and one of few in professional sports.
The club will begin MLS play in 2022, in a brand new stadium located in the Downtown West district of St. Louis.
STL "very proud" of female ownership milestone:
“It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer,” Garber said in a statement. “St. Louis is a city with a rich soccer tradition, and it is a market we have considered since the league’s inception. Our league becomes stronger today with the addition of the city’s deeply dedicated soccer fans, and the committed and innovative local ownership group led by Carolyn Kindle Betz, the Taylor family, and Jim Kavanaugh.”
St. Louis' proposed stadium will be a central element to a major development project in Downtown West. The planned 22,500-capacity stadium (which could be expanded to 25,500), includes a promise that every seat will be within 120 feet of the field, as well as a translucent canopy that will provide cover covering for the fans while allowing light to reach the field.
“Our ownership group has come a long way since we first announced our bid last October at Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club, and it’s an incredible feeling to now be able to say, St. Louis is home to the first official majority female-led ownership group in MLS,” said Carolyn Kindle Betz. “Our MLS team and stadium will only add to St. Louis’ renaissance currently underway and will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people in their love for the game.”
St. Louis has a rich soccer history and a track record for producing top level talent. Several current professionals include Will Bruin (Seattle Sounders), Joe Willis (Houston Dynamo), Tim Ream (Fulham), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen) and Becky Sauerbrunn of the NWSL's Utah Royals and the FIFA World Cup champion US women’s national team. In addition, many former MLS players are from St. Louis, including Taylor Twellman, Brad Davis, Chris Klein and Steve Ralston.
MLS currently has 24 teams competing in 2019, with Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC joining next season followed by Austin FC in 2021. St. Louis will become the 28th team. The league in April announced plans for the league to grow to 30 teams.