USL PRO soccer is coming to St. Louis in 2015
We are one step closer to bringing professional soccer back to St. Louis with St. Louis Scott Gallagher buying a team in the USL PRO league.
May 15, 2014
On May 1, St. Louis Scott Gallagher soccer club announced that they have bought a professional soccer team in the USL PRO division, the third tier of professional soccer in the United States, and the team is to start competing in the 2015 season.
“The USL PRO offers us the best opportunity to grow the franchise in the direction we want to go,” said General Manager Jeremy Alumbaugh. “The model that USL PRO has developed over the last few years leads to franchises having the best opportunity for stability. Bottom line is the USL PRO model fit better for us than another league.”
In 2013, the USL PRO league entered into a multi-year partnership with the MLS that has affiliations and interleague play, which was another reason why the USL PRO league was chosen.
“Obviously, their relationship with MLS is another thing that lead us to them,” Alumbaugh said. “We have plans to affiliate with an MLS team and look forward to making that affiliation formal here in the next few weeks.”
The partnership between the leagues especially helps the lower league teams succeed.
“The MLS affiliation is critical to the decision. It adds stability to the league with the implied endorsement, it offers access to coaching resources as well as players which should improve the quality of play while not requiring the same financial investment if the team had to find and sign them themselves,” said Steve Olson, the owner of soccerstl.net. “The (Chicago) Fire will happen. Every MLS team has to have a USL PRO team by 2015, either via affiliation or their own, like Los Angeles Galaxy II. I fully expect that there will be an announcement within a month, maybe a week.”
St. Louis had a try with professional soccer in 2009 with AC St. Louis, but the club folded in 2011 due to finances. Olson believes that this team will be better equipped than AC St. Louis, and have a good chance of succeeding.
“The management team is damn good. Jim Kavanaugh (the president of St. Louis Scott Gallagher) has grown a multi-billion dollar firm in Worldwide Technologies,” said Olson. “He’s taken a slow growth build model. They bought the facility, then they added the new pitch and fancy billboard. Then they upgraded the facilities and concessions, making it a separate profit center that has improved service and quality. They are taking it slowly and step by step.”
All of this comes after The St. Louis Soccer Partners failed to raise the funds needed to get a team here.