Soccer is often a term that locals will claim is athletically synonymous with the city of St. Louis. From soccer's early 20th century roots via the city's Soccer Club to the NASL Stars, the MISL Steamers, the indoor Storm and Ambush, the women's Athletica, the Division II Pro St. Louis AC, the Division III Pro St. Louis FC, to today's Major League Soccer (MSL) expansion work, St. Louis would like to be more than just the Gateway to the West.

The city wants to land the next MSL soccer team and is fighting tooth and nail to gain footing to do so.

Soccer expansion and the key voting issues

On April 4Th, the residents of the city will vote on two key issues related to securing one of the potential four planned expansion teams on the nearby horizon. The total number of teams currently rests at 24. MSL's Commissioner has given early indications that the league wants to grow to 28 shortly. St. Louis has every intention of being selected as a site.

The major sticking point for St. Louis soccer expansion is, as expected, money. The current agreement and hope of MSL is that the city will ante-up 60 million to put towards the total cost of bringing a professional outdoor soccer team to the shores of the Mississippi. If approved, an entertainment/ticket sales tax is intended to generate funding for the building of the soccer stadium.

In addition, a half-cent tax increase will help expand mass transit and fund the stadium as well. Both must pass to seal the deal.

Soccer in a battle with pressing social subjects

Both propositions are prominently on the ballot, but early wisdom acknowledges that the odds are stacked against their passage. The city is currently facing increased crime, population decline, public school issues, a mayoral battle, the need to improve infrastructure, and the flight of business to places just outside of the city limits.

Passing two tax increases - albeit small - is gamey to say the very least.

Early voting has begun and will continue until April 4th, when the residents of St. Louis city will show their approval or hand the idea of an MLS expansion the dreaded 'red-card' and stop the movement in its tracks.