Philadelphia wins support for MLS franchise plan
MIAMI (Reuters) - Philadelphia has emerged as favorite for an expansion slot in Major League Soccer after the league's commissioner lent his support to plans for a stadium and team in the city.
"It's not an 'if' question; it's a 'when' question," MLS commissioner Don Garber told the Philadelphia Daily News after meeting with local officials and a group of possible investors.
MLS currently has 13 teams and will add another franchise next season when the San Jose Earthquakes return to the league.
Two further expansion slots are planned and Philadelphia, which already has a fan club to support a team in the city, has long been considered a favorite.
St Louis, a traditional stronghold for soccer in the United States, is another city which would be an attractive location for a team while Florida has been without an MLS club since the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny left the league in 2001.
The Philadelphia plan envisages a soccer stadium built in nearby Chester City.
'The Sons of Ben', a fan club who have been vocal in their support for MLS action in Philadelphia, have created an online campaign where fans can sign up to interest in a future season ticket.