MLS considers possible expansion to Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The deal makers behind a possible Major League Soccer team in Charlotte weren't saying much as of Friday.

It’s early in the process but the possibility of a team coming tot he Queen City has fans excited.

Fans like RJ Johnson, who play soccer, said Charlotte is a perfect fit.

"It’d be fantastic for all the youth clubs and great for the city in general, especially if we could get a stadium." Johnson said.

In a conference call Thursday, the MLS commissioner said he met with Charlotte Motor Speedway CEO Bruton Smith and his son Marcus as potential investors.

The commissioner called the family energetic and experienced in professional sports.

Marcus Smith provided the following statement:

"I am very interested in bringing a major league soccer club to Charlotte. MLS has great momentum and a tremendous future, and so does our city. Charlotte would be a great addition to the league, and an MLS club would be a great addition to Charlotte. We are working with local leaders on an application, and hope to have more to say in February."

The statement from Smith comes as a surprise to many.

Channel 9 has reported on plans to turn Memorial Stadium in Elizabeth into a professional soccer field. It would cost $24 million and be split between the city, county and Charlotte Independence soccer team.

Whether the historic stadium will factor into MLS plans in Charlotte remains to be seen.

The MLS commissioner was asked about whether HB2 would be a factor. He said it would be among many other factors being considered.

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County issued a joint statement regarding MLS expansion possibilities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“We’re honored that Major League Soccer is considering Charlotte for expansion and support the Smith family’s exploration and enthusiasm in ownership. Soccer continues to gain a tremendous following throughout our region as we’ve seen from the international soccer matches we’ve hosted to thriving soccer camps, soccer academies and community programs that are creating the next generation of fans. We’re confident that an MLS team would be successful in the Queen City and look forward to continuing this conversation in the weeks and months to come.”