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MLS commissioner says Detroit is energized for soccer, expansion

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Posted at 5:54 AM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 05:55:24-04

Detroit is one of 12 different cities vying for one of four MLS expansion teams in the near future, and if words from the MLS commissioner mean anything, they could be a frontrunner.

 Commissioner Don Garber, speaking to reporters on Wednesday before the MLS All-Star Game in Chicago, said Detroit is one of four cities who are energized about soccer and MLS.

"Cincinnati and Nashville, and Sacramento and Detroit — just to name four where we've been to recently. Man, the energy there is off the charts," Garber said, according to the Tennessean. "Governors and mayors and CEOs all trying to tell their story about why they'd be great MLS expansion cities.

More than 30,000 fans attended an International Champions Cup match at Comerica Park a couple weeks ago, and two previous soccer matches at The Big House drew over 100,000 people.

Right now, the MLS plans to announce two of the four expansion teams in December, with the other possibly coming next year.

Other cities bidding for the expansion are: Sacramento, St. Louis, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Nashville, San Antonio, Raleigh, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix and San Diego.

Quicken Loans Founder and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and Pistons owner Tom Gores have teamed up for the MLS bid. They plan to build a stadium and entertainment complex on the site of the unfinished Wayne County Jail project in downtown Detroit.

The proposed stadium would set 20,000-25,000 people and would also have other local uses.

Garber says the league is "very focused" on building on the jail site. The earliest MLS could be in Detroit is 2020, noted Garber.

“I’ve always believed a sports franchise is a community asset with the power to unite and inspire people,” said Gores earlier this week. “I’m excited to partner with Dan and help in Detroit’s resurgence. Together we have all the tools we need to make a new team successful.”