SAN ANTONIO -- On Tuesday it was announced that Orlando would be the 21st expansion team into Major League Soccer. While it’s good news for Orlando, it could be bad for San Antonio and its hope of a bid to join MLS.
Throughout the season thousands of people pack Toyota Field to watch the San Antonio Scorpions. The professional team currently plays in the North American Soccer League, which is a league below MLS. Many of the fans that cheer on the scorpions are a part of a local group called The Crocketteers.
“As fans we want our team to play at the highest level we can possibly be,” said Crocketteers president James Hope. “We believe the highest level is Major League Soccer and we believe San Antonio is a Major League Soccer city and that’s what we are hoping for.”
And the fans aren’t alone. In August, Mayor Julian Castro wrote a letter to Donald Garber, commissioner of MLS, with reasons why San Antonio should be one of four remaining expansion teams in MLS.
Garber replied back in a separate letter:
“As we continue to grow our footprint throughout North America, there is no question that San Antonio has been a topic of discussion…We are certainly amenable to discussing the possibilities that lie ahead for a partnership between San Antonio and Major League Soccer.”
This week Orlando took one of those four remaining spots. There is also speculation Miami will be next and that leaves some fans worried time is running out for the Alamo City.
“We have real concerns, we have concerns that we need to move quickly with Atlanta moving forward, there’s talks of Minnesota, Miami is probably going to be announced by the end of the year, we need to make our jump,” said Hope.
Scorpions owner Gordon Hartman said the team, the fan base and stadium are already in San Antonio for possible MLS expansion.
“We’re happy where we are, but we also recognize that if it’s best for San Antonio and best for the soccer community and the people are willing to invest and be a part of it and come together on this, it’s something that should definitely be explored,” said Hartman.
Castro’s staff said the mayor was scheduled to meet with the MLS commissioner last week, but the meeting was unexpectedly canceled by the commissioner because of his schedule.
However, KENS-5 was told Castro and Garber plan to reschedule the meeting for a later date. The Scorpions averaged just under 7,000 fans last season, the highest in NASL, just behind the New York Cosmos.