MLS to Detroit? The city ticks off all the boxes, according to Detroit Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem.
There are several factors that make Detroit an attractive option for league expansion, Tellem recently told the Detroit Free Press, including a young and hungry soccer fan base in a growing soccer market, the opportunity to be part of the continued rebuild of the city and a chance for the Detroit youth to hone their skills.
“One of the most interesting things that I like about it, is that part and parcel with owning the team, we will have a soccer facility and a practice facility and an academy to give young people the opportunity to develop in soccer,” Tellem told the paper. “Whether they play professionally or not, but to use that as a tool to be able to get college scholarships – not just for boys, but for girls, too.”
Pistons owner Tom Gores and Detroit native Dan Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, are part of a group that has submitted an expansion bid to join MLS.
Gilbert has proposed a $1 billion stadium project at the site of Wayne County jail that was previously under construction.
Joining Detroit in pursuit of an MLS expansion team are Charlotte, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.
“One of the strong points of our case is because of such a unique partnership with Dan [Gilbert] and Tom [Gores] that our ownership is very strong and both are seasoned sports owners, who are committed to winning and doing it first class,” Tellem told the paper.