Kicking Up Excitement: The Rise of Pro Soccer in St. Louis

Over the past few years, St. Louis has been making waves in the world of professional soccer. With the recent announcement of an MLS franchise coming to the city in 2023, it seems that St. Louis is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a soccer hub in the United States. But this rise to prominence didn’t happen overnight. It has been a journey that has seen the city go from being overlooked as "flyover country" to becoming a hotbed for soccer excitement and passion. Let’s take a closer look at how St. Louis has embraced pro soccer and what the future holds for this growing sport in the Gateway City.

St. Louis Embraces Pro Soccer: A City’s Journey

The journey to becoming a soccer-loving city for St. Louis has been a long one. For years, the city was often overlooked as "flyover country," with little attention given to its sports teams. However, that all began to change when the US men’s national soccer team held a World Cup qualifier match in St. Louis in 2015. The sold-out crowd of over 45,000 fans showed the world that St. Louis had a passion for soccer that couldn’t be ignored.

Shortly after, a group of investors led by local businessman and soccer enthusiast, Jim Kavanaugh, began working towards bringing a professional soccer team to St. Louis. In 2019, their hard work paid off as the city was granted an MLS franchise. This announcement was met with a wave of excitement and renewed pride in the city’s sports scene. St. Louis had officially embraced pro soccer, and the journey was just beginning.

From "Flyover Country" to Soccer Hub

Since the MLS announcement, St. Louis has continued to make strides in establishing itself as a soccer hub. The city has seen a surge in youth soccer participation, with more kids getting involved in the sport at a grassroots level. This has led to the development of more youth academies and training programs, providing a pathway for young players to pursue professional careers.

In addition, the city has seen an increase in local soccer leagues and pickup games, creating a vibrant soccer community. The support for the sport has also extended to the city’s other sports teams, with the MLS franchise partnering with the St. Louis Blues and Cardinals to promote the city’s overall sports culture. From being overlooked as a sports city, St. Louis has now become a destination for soccer fans, both locally and nationally.

Team Spirit and City Pride: St. Louis’ Love for Soccer

One of the most significant factors contributing to the rise of pro soccer in St. Louis is the city’s passion for their teams. The new MLS franchise has embraced this passion, creating a strong sense of community and team spirit. The team is already making a positive impact in the city, participating in charitable events and giving back to the community. This has only further solidified the love and support for the team and the sport in St. Louis.

Moreover, the city’s love for soccer extends beyond just the MLS team. The local semi-professional team, St. Louis FC, has a loyal following and has been playing in the USL Championship since 2015. The team has drawn in impressive crowds, with fans showing their support by attending games and purchasing merchandise. This support for both the professional and semi-professional teams shows the city’s deep-rooted love for soccer and its commitment to making it a success in St. Louis.

With the MLS franchise set to make its debut in 2023, the future of pro soccer in St. Louis looks bright. The city’s journey from being overlooked to becoming a soccer hub has been a remarkable one, and it’s only just beginning. With a passionate fanbase, a vibrant soccer community, and a strong team spirit, St. Louis is poised to become a top destination for professional soccer in the United States. The rise of pro soccer in St. Louis is a testament to the city’s resilience and determination to become a sports powerhouse, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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