The owners of two amateur soccer teams are joining forces to bring a United Soccer Leagues professional team to St. Louis.
Tony Glavin owner and coach of the St. Louis Lions and Andrew Haines, St. Louis Ambush indoor soccer team owner, are hoping to establish pro team presence by 2015.
The partners created a website to gauge interest. Glavin calls the response "phenomenal."
"Based on the interest we’ve been getting on the website it’s very good," he said. "Based on that we’re hopeful that this will be successful."
Glavin said annual budgets for USL pro teams are usually under $2 million, compared to several million for a Major League Soccer team. Still, even though USL is more affordable, Glavin said they will need to prove they’ve got a strong investor group and the right front office.
The Lions and Ambush would remain in St. Louis. Glavin said both teams would feed into a USL pro team. In turn, the pro team would feed into an MLS franchise.
"The MLS initiative is for each of their franchises to either own a stand-alone USL pro [team] or be affiliated with one," Glavin said. "So I think the partnership there is just great for the game."
St. Louis last had a professional team in 2010. A-C St. Louis folded after just one season. Area soccer fans have clamored for a professional team since then. But, as the Riverfront Times reports, the recent success of three exhibition games in St. Louis combined with MLS's announcement last year that St. Louis would be a good option for franchise expansion, have given soccer enthusiasts reason to hope.
Glavin said they should be able to make an announcement within the next few months about whether they can bring a USL pro team to St. Louis.
Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman