St. Louis Voters Must Vote in Favor of the Soccer Stadium
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On April 4, the voters of St. Louis will have the opportunity to write another chapter in the long history of the city. With the proposed building of a soccer stadium on the ballot, voters have a choice to either help St. Louis grow as a city or keep the city the same as it is. Not only would the proposed stadium bring top level soccer to the city, but it would reap numerous economic benefits to the city.
As the vote is just days away, voters must be educated on the benefits that this will reap on the St. Louis economy. If passed, the proposition will push hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the economy. This will benefit the entirety of St. Louis, with more money being put into the city. Also, the proposal will create hundreds of jobs, as there will be construction jobs for the building of the stadium, and after the stadium is built, there will need to be jobs as maintenance workers, cashiers, salespeople, etc.
As well as this, the ownership group has pledged that there will be numerous scholarships given to underprivileged youth if the proposition is passed. The stadium proposition not only creates jobs, but it also reaches out to the lower class, and ultimately builds a greater St. Louis.
The building of the stadium will also increase tourism. Soccer fans, not only from the U.S., but the whole world, travel to support their favorite teams. This is true for supporters of MLS teams. The stadium would increase tourism from people from around the U.S., and the U.S. soccer teams would also play games there, which would bring in both foreign and domestic tourism.
There are few, if any, cities in the U.S. that have the illustrious soccer history that St. Louis has. The famous 1950 World Cup team was comprised of numerous players from St. Louis, and the city has always been prized for having one of, if not the best youth development system in the country. St. Louisans have been a large population in the professional leagues of the U.S. The only piece of the puzzle that is missing for the city is a top level professional team, that this proposal would bring. If not, all St. Louis will have is the second division side St. Louis FC.
There are also numerous supporters groups in the city, most notably being the “St. Louligans,” the loud, robust supporters group that can be seen and heard in Section 8 of the St. Louis Soccer Park stadium, cheering on St. Louis FC. This isn’t it though, as there are numerous groups in St. Louis that support foreign teams, such as the St. Louis Red Army that support Manchester United and LFC STL that supports Liverpool FC. This supporter culture would instantly be glued to an MLS franchise.
OTHER SOCCER STADIUMS IN THE U.S.
Other soccer stadiums have been across the country to great success. This is most notable in Orlando, as Orlando City SC’s new stadium has boomed the economy in the city and has created a soccer atmosphere rivaled by few in MLS. This is in a city that has very little history with the sport, so there’s no telling what this could do for St. Louis, as there has always been a strong presence of the “beautiful game” in the gateway city.
BENEFITS FOR MLS
Adding St. Louis into the mix of MLS teams would only help the league. As previously mentioned, St. Louis has had one of the best youth development programs in the country for some time, and having a direct team to bring the young players to the top level would only help the growth of the league.
As well as having a top class youth program coming into the league, St. Louis would provide a massive regional benefits to the league. A St. Louis franchise would immediately be thrusted into a local rivalry with both Sporting Kansas City and Chicago Fire. More pressing, MLS is in dire need for high profile rivalries, with Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers currently taking the cake as largest rivalry in the league, with New York City FC and New York Red Bulls playing an an east coast rivalry. But, while the two coasts have high profile rivalries, the middle of the country is desperate for a high profile soccer rivalry, and a St. Louis franchise would bridge that gap immediately.
A St. Louis franchise would especially bring a high caliber rivalry with Chicago Fire, as the St. Louis-Chicago rivalry is among the highest profile in both of the leagues that it is applicable in, with the Cardinals and Cubs and Blues and Blackhawks being among the best rivalries in their respective sports. There is no reason to believe that a St. Louis FC-Chicago Fire rivalry would be any different.
The benefits of this proposal are clear. St. Louis needs this stadium, not just for the luxury of having an MLS team, but for the economic boost that it would bring that is so badly needed. If this stadium is not built, nothing will change in St. Louis, despite a desperate need for change. St. Louis needs MLS. MLS needs St. Louis. It’s a match made in Heaven, but the ring bearer is the St. Louis voter, and they must bring the rings to the bride and groom.