Major League Soccer awards Charlotte with league’s newest team

Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Major League Soccer officially announced that Charlotte will be the home of the league’s 30th team Tuesday morning.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber joined Panthers owner David Tepper and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles for the special announcement at the Mint Museum in uptown Charlotte.

“It’s a historic day for soccer in north America, and it’s an historic day for the Queen City,” Garber said during the announcement.

He added that the announcement never would have happened without Tepper and Mayor Lyles.

“It all started with David,” Garber said, noting it took the Panthers owner, public partnership with the City and community support to make this happen.

Tepper joked that when he called Mayor Lyles to tell her the news, “It was the most expensive gift I’ve ever given a women.”

Mayor Lyles outlined the economic opportunities the new team brings, specificially with the headquarters coming to the old Eastland Mall site and the development in Centre City.

“It’s a new opportunity for transformation on the entire east side,” Lyles said.

In April, MLS announced plans for the league to grow to 30 teams.

The league currently has 24 teams competing in 2019, with Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC joining in 2020 followed by Austin FC in 2021. MLS awarded St. Louis with the league’s 28th team in August and Sacramento with the league’s 29th team in October. Both teams will join MLS in 2022.

Garber previously told reporters that Charlotte had moved its way to the front of the line with its bid for an MLS team. After a Dec. 5 meeting in Brooklyn, Garber spoke more about the future of MLS in the city of Charlotte.

“We reviewed several expansion markets today, and the group from Charlotte, including David Tepper and Tom Glick, met with the board and made a very impressive presentation,” Garber said.

On Dec. 5, Garber spoke about why Charlotte is an attractive market for MLS.

“We are very, very bullish about the Charlotte market. We believe it’s a growing city on the rise, and one that’s just got so much opportunity for us to be able to continue to expand our league,” Garber said. “We’ve got issues that need to get resolved as it relates to the stadium. We’ve got confidence in David Tepper and his management group, and confidence in the city leaders that they’ll continue to want to support the efforts to bring Major League Soccer to Charlotte.”

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