Louisville City has been around for one year, joining USL in what was a highly successful 2015 season.
They now have their sights set on MLS.
With accomplishments at the turnstiles and on the field, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals, the club began working with mayor Greg Fischer this fall to make a push toward joining North America’s top-flight league, which recently announced potential plans to expand to 28 teams.
Fischer and Louisville City brass detailed those plans to SBI Soccer’s Ryan Tolmich, saying their goal is to come together on a stadium deal to secure an MLS spot.
“When you look at what MLS wants to see,” Fischer said in the article. “They want to see excited fans in the stadium and a city behind it with full throttle support and confidence that a great team can be built there. When you look at year one with us, they can see that they can answer yes to all of those questions.”
Louisville played last season at 8,000-seat Louisville Slugger Field, the home of the city’s Triple-A Minor League Baseball team. The club came into existence when it acquired the USL license from Orlando City SC, which made the jump to MLS this past season.
Louisville also served as Orlando’s USL affiliate this year.
“Everything has been very preliminary,” said Amanda Duffy, Louisville City’s president. “Whether it’s with Major League Soccer executives or other MLS owners who have helped us create that path and what it’s going to take for us to get to the MLS level. We understand where that focus needs to be and the critical components to taking it to the next level.
“We still maintain a great relationship with Orlando City, even without the affiliation, and we have relationships with owners in USL and MLS owners that can help us with our plan, with our path and give us the best advice to get to where we want to be.”
MLS’s current expansion plans call for 24 teams by 2020. Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minnesota will join the league during the next three years, with Miami taking steps to becoming the 24th team. In addition, MLS has engaged in discussions with multiple markets and potential owners regarding future expansion.
"There is no shortage of demand for MLS expansion teams, and we believe the opportunity exists to grow beyond our current plans," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statementduring the league’s Board of Governors meeting prior to MLS Cup in Columbus, Ohio. "During the next few months, we will evaluate the possibility of growing the league to 28 teams and establish a process and timeline should we decide on further expansion."