The MLS has been looking to expand, and good news for FC Cincinnati because their City Council just approved infrastructure plans for a new MLS stadium. The Council is providing $34.8 million in infrastructure costs. The decision to go forward with this plan was nearly split among the Council. However, it was passed with the requirement that FC Cincinnati is responsible for building and paying for a 21,000 seat stadium. The cost is expected to be $212.5 million. The team will be announced as MLS’s next official expansion team.
Back in December, this title was awarded to Nashville, who is expected to officially begin to play in the league in 2020. The league certainly won’t stop with the addition of Cincinnati. As it continues to grow in popularity, the MLS will continue to spread far and wide. Here are three cities the MLS should consider next for expansion.
Raleigh, North Carolina
The MLS hasn’t even touched the Carolinas yet which is all but a shame. North Carolina is a booming place for soccer. With major colleges such as Wake Forest University and UNC Chapel Hill, there is a lot of talent that MLS is overlooking here. There is an overwhelming amount of alum who have continued on to become players and coaches in the MLS. You have Tyler Deric of the Houston Dynamo, Head Coach of Columbus Crew Gregg Berhalter, and former Philadelphia Union player Brian Carroll.
Women’s soccer is equally as popular in NC. Out of UNC, you have Tobin Heath, Heather O’Reilly, Kristine Lilly, and let’s not forget the soccer-god herself, Mia Hamm. The state is oozing with soccer brilliance and having an MLS team present would draw in huuuugeee crowds. Quite frankly, it’s a no-brainer.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
If you look at a map of the current MLS teams, you’ll notice there’s this giant gap between Texas and California. It’s just a stretch of nothingness aka the perfect place to put an MLS stadium. The city already has a soccer team, the Albuquerque Sol FC. Founded in 2013, the team is looking to go pro and hoping for a new stadium. Not only that, but right next-door is Mexico, a country so rooted in soccer culture that at this point, it can be classified as a religion. So it certainly wouldn’t be a problem getting a fan-base in Albuquerque.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Meet the Las Vegas Lights FC. They’re the city’s new professional soccer team that just became a team this year. The team has a lot of potential and MLS should capitalize on this. As a new team, the Lights are drawing in many supporters who are excited to see a professional soccer game. Vegas is a place created for escapism and fans at these games are eagerly flocking to escape into a world of entertainment, excitement, and clinking beers with new friends. For this specific community, it wouldn’t be about their team winning or losing, but rather about being involved in the soccer culture, something that the MLS has been striving for in America.