Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: Let's Enlist MLS Help in Getting a Team

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hochman: Let's Enlist MLS Help in Getting a Team

Article excerpt

Dear Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer:

Hello from St. Louis, where babies wear shin guards to christenings. We are a Mecca for Messis, a metropolis of the drop pass, the hometown of Harry Keough and Bob Kehoe, the breeding ground of Becky Sauerbrunn and Lori Chalupny, the place Taylor Twellman played in high school and Brian McBride played in college.

We're no longer a football town, but we're forever a ftbol town. Here's my pitch for the pitch.

I believe that we will win but we need your help. We are energized to earn a Major League Soccer team in St. Louis, and we need you to help galvanize.

Since the Rams have left, St. Louisans have re-channeled their gloom into momentum. A state representative has introduced legislation to get tax money for a soccer stadium. A prominent St. Louis architecture firm has already drawn designs. And spurned NFL fans now look at an MLS team as the perfect rejuvenation for our void.

But as we know too well in this town, if we don't have a dedicated ownership, both financially and emotionally, it's not going to work. This is why I'm writing to you. As you grow your league to 24 teams, possibly even 28, you're looking for the best fit. We're it. But we're looking for an ownership group, and you're the guy to recruit one. Be on the offensive, be aggressive, be creative. Think St. Louis. The fans are here.

You've seen the soccer-mad supporters at six major matches at Busch Stadium and the Edward Jones Dome, all in the past three-plus years, including games with our national teams. It was as difficult to get tickets as it was easy to get Rams tickets. And surely you're aware of our Bosnian community, thousands of proud and loud citizens, who speak in their native tongue the language of soccer.

In a weird way, the Rams' departure has actually increased civic pride for many St. Louisans. There's an attitude of: "If you don't want to be here, then we don't want you here." Yes, yes, we would love to have the NFL. But a second marriage to the MLS instead seems invigorating. It makes sense, it's a realistic match. Soccer, we want to grow old with you. …

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