Charlotte Independence players celebrate

USL club Charlotte Independence have hired a sports investment firm to assemble a potential ownership group with an eye toward a future MLS bid, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.


The article states that club managing partner Jim McPhilliamy hired boutique sports investment bank Accelerate Sports to help find additional owners that would be needed to pursue an MLS expansion team in the future.


Accelerate’s founder and CEO, Brent Lawrence, has previously advised Sacramento Republic FC, which have been mentioned as a potential future MLS expansion candidate.


McPhilliamy is currently working on a stadium renovation plan with the team proposing a private/public partnership that would spend a total of $25 million to update 80-year-old Memorial Stadium. According to the Charlotte Business Journal, the proposal would convert the stadium into a 10,000-seat facility with potential to add 10,000 to 15,000 more seats with an eye toward MLS.


MLS currently has 20 teams, with Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC set to take that total to 22 when they join the league in 2017. LAFC will join the league in 2018, and the league has said that it plans to have 24 teams by 2020, with David Beckham’s proposed Miami side a possibility to be the 24th club.


The league has also indicated that it plans to eventually expand to 28 teams, though no timeline has yet been established. Interested cities in future MLS expansion include Austin, Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio and San Diego.