St. Louis professional soccer is back as reported on Friday morning. The city, which loves the sport and has not had a pro team in a while, will get a team, which will debut in 2015. The city has been longing for a professional team in the sport for a while and finally the USL Pro league has given the of St. Louis from Missouri a go.
USL CEO Alec Papadakis told the press that the league was thrilled to welcome St. Louis into the USL Pro league. He added that the new pro team for the Gateway Arch city will begin in 2015. Papadakis stated that the city of St. Louis deserves a professional team since the city has contributed to the sport for a long time. St. Louis is known for having a significant amount of youth leagues throughout the city, developing many players into the professional level. Papadakis concluded that players and coaches from the city of St. Louis have contributed to the history of of the sport in American itself. No report was given on the name or colors for the team.
This year, the USL Pro league welcomed expansion teams from Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Oklahoma City. Next year, St. Louis will be introduced alongside Colorado Springs and Tulsa. According to the press released throughout the city, St. Louis will have a pro team back in town and will play at Soccer Park in Fenton which seats 5,000 people. A news conference was also announced to take place on Friday as well.
St. Louis has had a share of professional teams since 1967 in many different minor leagues. The last one was the AC St. Louis who only lasted one season in the USSF Division 2 Professional League. Another team known from the Gateway Arch city were the St. Louis Stars from the NASL days, 1967-1977. The Stars later moved to California and struggled there as well. After the Stars, came the Steamers that played in the MISL from 1979-1988. The Storm also played in the MISL from 1989-1992.
Now, the city has another shot with the USL Pro league, which is a third tier league under the North Soccer League, which has 10 teams, two of which are Canadian. The USL Pro league currently has 14 with three more to be added next year, including St. Louis.
The person responsible for bringing a team to the Gateway Arch city is Jim Kavanaugh, who is the CEO of World Wide Technology. The company is one of the city’s largest companies, with a $5 billion revenue last year alone. On Thursday, Kavanaugh announced to the city that St. Louis will have a pro soccer team and that the project was starting in 2015. He will also act as the CEO of the St. Louis pro team. Kavanaugh also stated that Dale Schilly will serve as the team’s head coach.
Now with the USL Pro, St. Louis professional soccer is back. This puts the city that contributed to the sport in this country back in the map. Rightly, it is a well deserved accomplishment for the city and good luck to St. Louis.
Commentary by Jose Herrera