Major League Soccer has unveiled plans to expand to 30 teams in the coming years, but San Diego’s name has not come up publicly.
The decision, announced Thursday following MLS Board of Governors meetings held in Los Angeles, only made mention of two specific cities.
“No official decision was made on future expansion markets, but the Commissioner’s office was authorized to advance discussions with Sacramento and St. Louis ownership groups regarding their bids,” the league’s statement read.
Both the Sacramento and St. Louis groups will be asked to make formal presentations to the MLS Expansion Committee to address each bid’s final stadium plan, corporate commitments, the composition of the respective ownership groups, detailed economics on funding, strategic plans for fan development, commitments on player development and details on community programs.
In addition to Sacramento and St. Louis, however, “the league remains in discussion with several other ownership groups in other cities,” the league statement read.
“Professional soccer at all levels is thriving in the United States and Canada and we believe there are many markets that could support a successful MLS club,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.
With agreements currently in place with 27 total clubs, the league anticipates selecting the 28th and 29th expansion teams by the July 31 All-Star Game. The expansion fee for the 28th and 29th clubs was also set at $200 million.
A decision regarding the expansion fee and timetable for the 30th team was deferred by the Board of Governors.
There are currently 24 clubs competing in the 2019 regular season in progress with expansion teams Inter Miami CF (2020), Nashville SC (2020) and Austin FC (2021) beginning play in the next two years, bringing the total of MLS clubs to 27.
MLS is currently the largest first division professional soccer league in the world, but it’s doubtful San Diego will be included anytime soon.
Mission Valley stadium in San Diego was under consideration as a home for professional soccer, but in November voters nixed a proposal to redevelop the SDCCU Stadium site with a professional soccer stadium.
Instead, voters passed a competing plan that will include a new stadium for San Diego State University football. Known as Measure G, the voter-approved plan allows the California State University Board of Trustees to determine the site’s development, which may include stadium, recreational, educational, residential, office, hotel, retail and other uses.