Major League Soccer considers St. Pete’s Rowdies as possible expansion team

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Major League Soccer, through Commissioner Don Garber, unveiled on Thursday that the Tampa Bay Rowdies are one of 10 potential expansion cities. MLS also announced a detailed expansion plan related to the League’s future as it continues to grow to 28 clubs.

“I want to be the first of the ten potential cities to earn an MLS franchise,” Rowdies Chairman and CEO Bill Edwards said.

To read the complete expansion process and timeline, click here.

The Rowdies are focused on bringing Major League Soccer to Tampa Bay by 2020, and will submit an expansion application by the Jan. 31, 2017 date.

“It’s great to know that less than two weeks after announcing our #MLS2StPete campaign, Major League Soccer is acknowledging us as one of the potential expansion cities,” Edwards said. “Bringing Major League Soccer to the Tampa Bay Area by 2020 is my goal.”

As part of this plan, it was announced that Teams 25 and 26 would be the next expansion teams, beginning play in 2020. Both expansion teams would be announced during the second or third quarter of 2017.

As part of this application, MLS stated the following as key aspects when reviewing candidates:

  1. A committed local ownership group that has a passion for the sport, a deep belief in Major League Soccer and the resources to invest in the infrastructure to build the sport in their respective market.
  2. A market that has a history of strong fan support for soccer matches and other sporting events, is located in a desirable geographic location and is attractive to corporate sponsors and television partners.
  3. A comprehensive stadium plan that ensures the club will have a proper home for their fans and players while also serving as a destination for the sport in the community.

Fans need to show their support for #MLS2StPete by purchasing 2017 season tickets. Call (727) 222-2000 or click here to secure your seats for the upcoming season. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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