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Will Birmingham join Major League Soccer?

July 15, 2009
In a surprise 5-2 vote, Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex board members approve a contract allowing a lead architect to begin designing a domed stadium for Birmingham.

     Photograph
  Birmingham mayor
Larry Langford
   
"It's done. I'm ready to get started," mayor Larry Langford said shortly after the board approved the measure.

The vote allows the lead architect to start the process of putting together a team of local architects to assist on a project that will cost more than $550 million and take five years to build. The 57,500 seat stadium would be expandable to 70,000 seats in the future.

Langford told the board he has been in talks with several companies interested in paying up to $1 million a year to have their name connected to the dome. He didn't name any of the companies.

"We have fought too long to get to this point. For those wondering when we would start to get private money, we couldn't take that step until we had funding in place. Major League Soccer is looking for a site for a new team. I think Birmingham could now get them here," the mayor said.

The 15 team soccer league, started in 1996, currently has expansion teams expected to debut by 2010 in Philadelphia, Portland, and Vancouver. The league has favored smaller, soccer-specific stadiums for its teams.

July 16, 2009
Dan Courtemanche, an official with Major League Soccer, says that while no formal discussions are under way, the MLS would give Birmingham consideration for future expansion. "We are very well aware of the passion in Birmingham for soccer events and the big crowds you've seen."

However, cities that didn't make the cut for expansion in 2010 would get first consideration. Two such cities are Atlanta and St. Louis. "We are always open to discussions with cities interested in our league," Courtemanche said.

Courtemanche indicated the dome's artificial turf would not be a strike against it saying, "We have a few teams that play on turf, such as Seattle, which plays indoors."

March 2010

2010                          
Major League Soccer                          
xx   xx   xx   xx   xx   xx
  Chicago Fire logo   Chivas USA logo   Colorado Rapids logo   Columbus Crew logo   D.C. United logo  
  Chicago Fire   Chivas USA   Colorado Rapids
Champion
  Columbus Crew   D.C. United  
                     
  FC Dallas logo   Houston Dynamo logo   Kansas City Wizards logo   LA Galaxy logo   New England Revolution logo  
  FC Dallas   Houston Dynamo   Kansas City Wizards   LA Galaxy   New England Revolution  
                     
  New York Red Bull logo   Philadelphia Union logo   Real Salt Lake logo   San Jose Earthquakes logo   Seattle Sounders logo  
  New York Red Bull   Philadelphia Union   Real Salt Lake   San Jose Earthquakes   Seattle Sounders  
                     
  Toronto FC logo                  
  Toronto FC                  
                     

Epilogue
Birmingham was never granted a MLS team.

However, in May 2017 the United Soccer League announced they would place a team in Birmingham in 2019.

Major League Soccer has continued to play through the years, and as of 2019 has 24 teams spread across the United States and Canada.
 
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Last update: September 26, 2019