Soccer fans excited about upcoming Raleigh visit by MLS top executives

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) -- On Wednesday Major League Soccer's top executives are coming to Raleigh.

They will also be visiting Charlotte. The two cities are competing for a national soccer franchise and there's a lot on the line.

The president and deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer, Mark Abbott, will be making his way to Raleigh Wednesday and if all goes well the city could become home to a major league soccer team, the first in North Carolina.

"I'm 41-years-old," said Vance Carlisle. "I've been playing soccer my whole life and nothing would make me happier than to see an MLS here. The way the sports growing on a global level and also now nationally - it would be incredible."

Heather O'Reilly played soccer at UNC.

"I eat sleep, breathe, the game," said O'Reilly.

She went on to compete in the Olympics three times and during three World Cups.

O'Reilly thinks North Carolina has the potential to become a hot bed for soccer.

"People are obsessed with this sport and I'd like to help create that culture here in North Carolina and it's already budding but an MLS team would just help that cause even greater," O'Reilly said.

The North Carolina Football Club announced its plan to go after an MLS franchise last December and placed its bid in January. The league has been touring 12 cities all vying for franchises.

"In terms of economic growth the possibilities are endless," said Raleigh soccer player, Eric Debrah. "Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area is growing currently and I think with the addition of a major sports team it would only help to improve that."

The club is also organizing a public rally Wednesday where fans can show their support to the league's executives. The event will be at City Market downtown from 5-7 p.m.

On Wednesday morning, the North Carolina Football Club will meet to discuss their preferred location for the stadium.

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