ST. LOUIS — The long-awaited announcement has finally arrived.
Major League Soccer is officially coming to St. Louis.
The MLS, Commissioner Don Garber and the St. Louis based ownership group, MLS4TheLou, spearheaded by Jim Kavanaugh and Carolyn Kindle Betz were finally able to announce the arrival of a team on Tuesday.
"It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer," Commissioner Garber said in a statement. "St. Louis is a city rich with soccer tradition, and it is a market we have coveted since the league's inception."
The St. Louis team will be team 28 in the league, with two more expected to be added soon.
"St. Louis with its incredibly rich soccer history not only deserves an MLS team. It's earned one," Garber said.
The still unnamed St. Louis team is expected to begin play in 2022, in a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium to be built next to Union Station downtown.
The effort to bring Major League soccer to St. Louis has been a movement years in the making.
After a public vote was defeated in 2017, it looked like the dream of the MLS in St. Louis was dead. That was until a local ownership group spearheaded by the Kavanaugh and Taylor families stepped in to take on the brunt of the financial impact.
"Our ownership group has come a long way since we first announced our bid last October at the Matthews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club, and it's an incredible feeling to now be able to say, St. Louis is home to the first official majority female-led ownership group in MLS," Kindle Betz said in a statement. "Our MLS team and stadium will only add to St. Louis' renaissance currently underway and will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people in their love for the game."
After that, the new ownership group, dubbed "MLS4THELOU", presented their case for making St. Louis the next MLS city to Commissioner Garber and the rest of the MLS brass a number of times.
So what comes next?
Carolyn Kindle Betz said the group is wrapping up both stadium and sponsorship details and will share more information in the coming weeks.