USL PRO Announces St. Louis Expansion
USL PRO News Release
Thursday, May 1, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO is pleased to announce the return of professional soccer to St. Louis, Missouri by awarding an expansion franchise to SLSG PRO LLC that will join the league starting in the 2015 season. Longtime St. Louis business executive and soccer advocate Jim Kavanaugh will serve as CEO of SLSG PRO, overseeing the operations of the franchise.
Kavanaugh is also the CEO of World Wide Technology which he co-founded 1990. WWT is one of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has grown into a global systems integrator with more than $6 billion in annual revenue and more than 2,400 employees worldwide.
St. Louis is the third USL PRO expansion team announced for 2015, joining Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and Tulsa Roughnecks FC, with additional announcements expected in the coming months.
“We are thrilled to welcome St. Louis into USL PRO starting with the 2015 season,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “St. Louis, more than any other U.S. city, has significantly contributed to the development and growth of American soccer on all levels – youth, collegiate and professional. Through the years, St. Louis players, coaches and soccer executives have greatly impacted not only the game of soccer, but the history of American soccer itself.
“The individuals involved with the St. Louis USL PRO franchise have unquestionable integrity and credibility with both the soccer and business communities. Undoubtedly, St. Louis’ USL PRO team, coupled with the storied Scott Gallagher organization, has the formula for making St. Louis one of the most successful clubs in the league.”
USL PRO is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league on and off the field below and in support of Major League Soccer (MLS). Focused on league stability and franchise performance longevity, USL PRO features 14 teams in 2014, including expansion teams in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Sacramento. In January 2013 USL PRO entered into a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that features individual team affiliations, inter-league play, and the opportunity for MLS clubs to field a second team in USL PRO.
“Our organization is constantly searching for ways to further our mission: To build the best club in the country – a club that positively impacts the development of our players on and off the field and positively impacts our community,” Kavanaugh said. “We view the return of professional outdoor soccer through USL PRO as a meaningful way to aid the development of area youth soccer players and positively impact our community. We believe the time is right for St. Louis to re-take its place on the national soccer landscape.”
The St. Louis franchise will compete at the 5,000-seat Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo. The team will be led by head coach Dale Schilly, who has nearly 30 years of coaching experience at every level.
“The St. Louis area has waited patiently for the return of professional outdoor soccer,” Schilly said. “It has been gratifying to watch the professional game blossom across the country, yet frustrating for the St. Louis soccer community to not be a part of the growth on the professional level. With the new agreement in place between the MLS and USL PRO, there could not be a better time for St. Louis to be a part of the enthusiasm and passion that comes with this great sport. We have been working diligently in preparation for a team, and the organization is excited about this opportunity.”
St. Louis has begun development on a team name, logo, colors, and uniforms, which will be announced in the coming months.