Charlotte will not be the only city and expansion hopeful in North Carolina getting a visit from MLS executives next week.
North Carolina FC announced this past Tuesday that MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott will be part of a group of league officials that are set to visit Raleigh on July 19. The trip is part of MLS's tour of the 12 markets that are vying for an expansion franchise, and will see the league's representatives meet with local business leaders and government officials.
“We are excited to host Major League Soccer next week,” said North Carolina Football Club owner Steve Malik in a statement released by the team. “We have a full slate of events planned for them and hope they will see the Triangle’s passion for soccer and desire to bring an MLS team to the area.”
The MLS group will first meet with Raleigh business and civic leaders in the morning before attending a press conference in which the club will give important updates on its purpose-built stadium plans. Following the presser, the MLS executives will meet with government officials and tour the Triangle area with the club’s MLS committee leaders and North Carolina Football Club leadership, as well as meeting with North Carolina FC Youth executives. The day will be capped with a public rally at City Market in the downtown area.
Before the visit to Raleigh, MLS officials will stop to pay a visit to leaders in Charlotte on July 18. The league announced in 2015 that it plans to grow to 28 teams. Of the 12 teams that submitted bids by the January 31, 2017 deadline for the latest round of expansion, MLS will select a total of four teams, with two slated to be confirmed by the end of 2017.