Charlotte Independence are a USL team with just one season of history, but the club is already thinking about a future in MLS. City and county officials are expected to take up a debate on whether to invest $20 million into the city's Memorial Stadium, reports the Charlotte Business Journal. The investment is considered vital if the Independence want to make the jump to MLS in the next five years.
"If we can make an investment in Memorial Stadium and show the MLS that we can support soccer, our track record in sports is good," James Mitchell, a Democrat who leads the City Council economic development committee, told me. "I think there is political will to get this done. So you can check that box off. The question is whether there is enough sponsorship support at a major league level to go with the Hornets, the Panthers and NASCAR."
Charlotte's potential MLS venture provides direct competition to the Raleigh-based Carolina RailHawks, who are also considering stadium renovations and a future in American soccer's top tier. Both cities would provide a nice regional rivalry for Atlanta United, but considering the festering animosity between ATL and the Queen City, Charlotte may be the preferred option.
MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche said, "The success of soccer in Charlotte at the youth and college level serves as yet another strong indicator of the continued growth of the sport in the United States. Last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup crowd of more than 55,000 also illustrated the passionate support for soccer in the area. Independence owner Jim McPhilliamy provides us with regular updates regarding the progress of professional soccer in Charlotte, and we understand the city and the county are very supportive of his vision for a soccer-specific stadium that could be the home for a Major League Soccer expansion team someday."
Jermaine Jones: Revs offer a 'joke'; MLS suspension 'crazy' [SBI]
Jones has a lot to say these days. He's not happy with his contract offer from New England Revolution, and he believes his six-game suspension is preventing him from taking better offers to play abroad.
Manchester United and AC Milan think their brands entitle them to success. Screw them. [SBN]
Not going to argue with that sentiment.
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants to stay until deal ends in 2017 [ESPN FC]
If Van Gaal wants to remain in chard with United through the end of next season, he should probably start winning.
Swiss prosecutors' FIFA probe aided by new information from whistle-blower [Daily Mail]
Formal charges against Blatter could be brought by the end of this year.
What's happening in The A?
The Hawks lost their second straight Thursday night, falling at the Indiana Pacers, 111-92. Adding injury to insult, 2016 All-Star Paul Millsap left the game with a sprained ankle.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff are "absolutely jacked to get rolling" on building the 2016 team.