Add Baltimore, Birmingham to USL Expansion Candidates

Phoenix Rising v. Reno

Even though fees have gone up to a reported $5 million, we’re seeing eight USL expansion candidates emerge for coming years, with the latest two Baltimore and Birmingham.

USL President Jake Edwards says he’ll be meeting with a investor group seeking to bring an expansion team to Baltimore, probably for the 2019 season. This group of local business owners would launch the team and build a new stadium. This is not a new effort — indeed, news of the Baltimore expansion effort surfaced earlier this year — but it’s advanced enough where Edwards  From the Washington Post:

Edwards declined to identity the backers of the Baltimore campaign but said a “very successful local businessman is at the forefront of the group” and that it plans to build a stadium and launch a youth academy. The minimum seating capacity for second-division teams is 5,000. Last year, in its expansion season, FC Cincinnati averaged 17,296….

D.C. United has also submitted an application to the USL to operate a team in the lower flight. The organization is exploring stadium opportunities in Northern Virginia as part of a large project that would also include fields and facilities for the first team and youth academy. George Mason University in Fairfax and Loudoun County are the early candidates.

“We continue to work through that project with D.C. United,” Edwards said. “I know they’ve got a lot going on right now with the new [MLS] stadium, but they did submit a nice application to us. It might take a little bit longer than all parties expected, but they remain committed to it.

Loudoun County, of course, was once pitched as the potential home of an expansion NASL team — an effort that collapsed when the potential team owner failed to finalize financing for a new stadium.

Image from USL action in Week 7: Phoenix Rising v. Reno.

RELATED STORIES: Fresno USL Expansion Team is a Go; Las Vegas Could Land USL Team at Cashman Field; Report: Baltimore Making Push for USL; D.C. United Looking to Launch USL Squad

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