McINERNEY BELIEVES SOUTHEAST COULD SUPPORT MLS FRANCHISE, EXPANSION
At the very least, MLS has the support of someone in the Union's locker room.
Union forward Jack McInerney thinks the Southeast could handle a franchise and said one would thrive there. Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., educated in Bradenton, Fla., and whose family makes its home in Alpharetta, Ga., McInerney said Atlanta would be ideal.
“It all depends on location,” McInerney said earlier this week. “The Atlanta area isn't like a big city like Philadelphia. There are swaths around. It just depends on where they put it. Soccer is big down there, with all the youth and club teams."
As for particular states, though, McInerney said take your pick.
“Definitely Georgia, or if they went down to Florida, it'd be a good option,” McInerney said. “The league has grown so much. North Carolina could hold a team, too. It's just a matter of who wants to put in the work to get a team.”
Abbott told reporters the buy-in price to join MLS is $100 million. Twice has MLS attempted to put franchises in that region of the country: Tampa Bay Mutiny, which played its inaugural season in 1996, and Miami Fusion, founded in 1998, both were vacated by the league in 2001. League officials have said they're satisfied with a 20-team format. And with MLS currently at 19 clubs, and only wanting to add a 20th to the New York market, that leaves the Southeast region on the short end of the stick.
No one's saying it'll never happen … but it might take a while.
(Photo courtesy philadelphiaunion.com)