St Louis MLS chances gather pace

St. Louis Soccer United has announced that Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. has entered into a letter of intent to transfer ownership of the Anheuser-Busch Center -- commonly referred to as "Soccer Park" -- to SLSU, the local group working to bring a Major League Soccer expansion franchise to the St. Louis area.

St. Louis Soccer United has announced that Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. has entered into a letter of intent to transfer ownership of the Anheuser-Busch Center -- commonly referred to as "Soccer Park" -- to SLSU, the local group working to bring a Major League Soccer expansion franchise to the St. Louis area.

SLSU will work with public officials to explore the feasibility of building an MLS quality, soccer-specific stadium at the site located just west of Interstate 270 at Interstate 44. Anheuser-Busch intends to transfer the Soccer Park location to SLSU even if the site proves to be unworkable for an MLS stadium, with the goal of ensuring it continues to serve the amateur soccer community in St. Louis as it has since the facility opened in 1982.

"St. Louis is home to one of the strongest soccer communities in the country," said Dan McHugh, vice president of Media, Sponsorship and Activation, Anheuser-Busch Inc. "The transfer of A-B Soccer Park to SLSU is a community win-win. It supports civic efforts to bring Major League Soccer to St. Louis and preserves a community home for organized youth and amateur soccer."

"A-B's generosity has given SLSU an outstanding opportunity to improve St. Louis' candidacy for an MLS expansion franchise," said Jeff Cooper, chairman, St. Louis Soccer United. "The Soccer Park is a well-known site that will appeal to players, fans and investor candidates alike."

SLSU represents the St. Louis market's candidacy to attract an MLS expansion franchise to the area by 2011 or 2012. SLSU also partners with the nation's largest youth soccer club following the merger last year between Scott Gallagher, St. Louis Soccer Club and Metro United. The newly merged club was recently named the top club in the nation for its superior youth development program by ClubRank, a formula from Top Drawer Soccer (www.topdrawersoccer.com) based on points awarded for full and youth national team call-ups, college players, and domestic and overseas professional rosters for 2008.

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