Apr 19, 2019

Major League Soccer announces plan to expand to 30 teams

In this image, Don Garber stands in a suit and speaks from behind a podium.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Photo: Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced yesterday that the league will be expanding to 30 teams in the coming years, up from the previous expansion target of 28.

Why it matters: Professional soccer is thriving in the U.S. and Canada, and expansion during the last decade and a half has been a key driver of MLS' growth. Why not keep it going with investors swarming?

  • Yes, but: There's a cap on "major league" cities in North America, so this can't go on forever.

The big picture: In 2006, MLS had 11 teams. This season, there are 24, with another three on the way: Inter Miami CF (2020), Nashville SC (2020) and Austin FC (2021).

Where it stands: Garber says the league anticipates selecting the 28th and 29th expansion teams in the coming months with no timetable set for the 30th team.

  • Favorites to land a team: Sacramento and St. Louis appear to be the frontrunners for slots No. 28 and 29, as they've both been asked to make formal presentations to the MLS Expansion Committee.
  • Charlotte, Phoenix, Raleigh, Detroit, San Diego and Indianapolis are among the cities whose expansion hopes may be rekindled thanks to yesterday's announcement, according to Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus.

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