12 cities submit MLS expansion applications

Dan Hamilton
The league will select four of the 12 markets to enter MLS starting in the 2020 season.

Major League Soccer has announced that 12 ownership groups and markets have submitted official applications for the league’s next round of expansion.

The 12 cities that have applied are Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

The league has announced plans to expand to 28 teams in the coming years. Atlanta United and Minnesota United will bring MLS to 22 teams this year, with Los Angeles FC moving that number to 23 in 2018. MLS is still focused on awarding team 24 to Miami, despite continuing setbacks securing a stadium deal in that market.

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MLS will announce two more expansion teams before the end of 2017, with teams 25 and 26 set to begin play by 2020. Teams 27 and 28 will enter the league at a later unspecified date. 

“Major League Soccer began with 10 clubs back in 1996, and we now have 12 markets vying to secure a team in our next round of expansion,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a news release.

“That’s a strong statement about the league and the growth of the sport in the United States and Canada.  We would like to thank all of the groups for submitting their expansion applications, and we have been encouraged by the support from government officials, corporate leaders and fan enthusiasm in each market.  We look forward to reviewing the applications and meeting with the MLS Expansion Committee in the coming months.”