Unclear if Saint Louis FC will return next season, per report

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - As one professional soccer team is inching closer to its first season in St. Louis, another team may be on its way out. Saint Louis FC of the USL Championship may not return for a seventh season, according to a report by The Atheltic

Soccer reporter Jeff Rueter says the club has until the end of the month to tell the league whether or not it will return for the 2021 season. Sources say "players and staff alike have come to a grave assumption that this will almost certainly be the end," Rueter reports.

Neither the team or league gave a comment on Rueter's report. 

The team's biggest supporters, the St. Louligans are expressing some disappointment on Twitter that the coming Major League Soccer franchise may not be partnering with the USL side. Some tweets are citing past comments and graphics from the MLS4TheLou ownership group that express a desire to work with STLFC. 

When the #MLS4THELOU journey started, this graphic was on their website. @SaintLouisFC was a part of the plan. At some point that plan changed. But 2 years without pro soccer in St. Louis will kill a lot of momentum leading up to MLS. pic.twitter.com/XsvDZ6RnMq

— St.Louligans ☠️ (@StLouligans) August 11, 2020

We haven’t been naive in this process, the USL team would never be able to “compete” with #MLS4TheLou. But we expected/hoped @SaintLouisFC would carry on until mls started at least. To bridge the gap. Change was inevitable. Just didn’t expect it like this.

— This is SiLLy! --☠️ (@ThisIsSiLLyPod) August 11, 2020

Way back when, they had even expanded upon it with great insight into why it is important. I could not agree with their logic more. #MLS4THELOU pic.twitter.com/ihSkRTLIWo

— Matt Baker (@MattBakerSTL) August 11, 2020

STLFC has nine games left on its schedule for this season, including six home games. 

The report does say one option for STLFC would be to follow what the Ottawa Fury did last year, as they sold the franchise charter to The Miami FC – it saved some jobs, but the team still left the city of Ottawa.

"One source speculated that Saint Louis could explore a similar potential sale if they’re unable to gain additional investment for future seasons. Franchise agreements are not universal and vary depending on the club, leaving some variance in the mechanism to sell those rights. However, there are many markets interested in joining a league which has said it will likely close expansion in the near future." 

On Thursday, MLS4TheLou will unveil the crest and name for the new St. Louis MLS team. It will be a virtual announcement. 

On a recent episode of Garage Happy Hour, MLS4TheLou's Carolyn Kindle Betz told our Sports Director Tom Ackerman that she knows the official name she's very nervous about accidentally telling someone. She joked that it might be best for her to just stay home for a couple of weeks until the official announcement. 

Earlier this month, MLS pushed back the timeline for the inaugural seasons of three of the four expansion clubs: St. Louis, Charlotte and Sacramento. St. Louis will begin play in 2023, not 2022 as originally planned. 

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