“We are thrilled to welcome St. Louis into USL Pro,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a statement. “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.”
Longtime St. Louis business executive and soccer advocate Jim Kavanaugh will serve as CEO of SLSG PRO, overseeing the operations of the franchise. Kavanaugh, an investor in the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, 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.
Still to be announced: team name and colors. Also to be announced: an affiliation with the Chicago Fire of MLS
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.
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.”