CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The MLS Cup represents the end of the season for Major League Soccer. The event is being held this weekend. The Seattle Sounders will square off with Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon.
As part of the big weekend, MLS commissioner Don Garber delivered a “State of the League” address Friday night. After the speech, he took questions from reporters.
When a reporter inquired about league expansion, Garber spoke about Charlotte’s push for an MLS team.
“There are three markets that we’re looking at that our expansion committee has been engaged with - both Charlotte, Las Vegas and Phoenix and it’s fair to say that Charlotte has done a lot of work to move their bid really to the front of the line,” said Garber.
The commissioner referenced Panthers owner David Tepper as a driving factor behind Charlotte’s chances of landing a soccer team.
“He’s a very passionate guy about sport, very passionate about Charlotte and is reminding us that the league didn’t really see what Atlanta would become,” noted Garber.
The Atlanta United franchise has become one of the league’s best organizations in recent years. The team won the MLS Cup in 2018. The team has been known to draw huge crowds at their home games.
“There’s a lot of things happening in Charlotte that are very similar to things that are happening in Atlanta in terms of the diversity of their fanbase and a lot of the corporate energy that’s going on down there,” said Garber.
While the commissioner’s initial statements sound good for the Queen City’s chances of landing a team, he noted that nothing has been made official.
"Nothing from me to report. I think the Carolinas are a good state for soccer. You know that from a woman’s soccer perspective and a youth soccer perspective and should we be able to move forward and end up with a team in Charlotte, I’m confident it would be successful, but nothing to report,” said Garber.