On August 20, 2019, the city of St. Louis, MO was officially awarded the 28th franchise in Major League Soccer, with an anticipated inaugural season beginning in 2022. And while the club begins its efforts to get its team name, new downtown stadium and initial soccer operations in place, we take some time this week to reflect on the city’s deep and rich soccer history – perhaps unmatched by any locale in the United States.
Dave Lange (Soccer Made in St. Louis: A History of the Game in America’s First Soccer Capital) joins the ‘cast to trace the undeniably symbiotic relationship between the Gateway City and the Beautiful Game – as well as its impact on the development of the sport (especially professionally) across America.
As we root for the new St. Louis MLS team (our name suggestion: Gateway FC!) to meaningfully recognize and incorporate this important past, Lange helps tide us over in the interim as he discusses:
The St. Louis transplant who help launch both the USA’s first governing body for the sport, as well as its first professional league (the American Soccer League) during the Roaring Twenties;
The deep-rooted amateur, scholastic and collegiate landscape that kept the city at the center of the nation’s soccer development (including occasional US national team flashes of brilliance);
The seminal, but oft-forgotten St. Louis Stars of the 1967 NPSL and 1968-77 NASL;
How “soc-hoc” evolved into a professional indoor soccer explosion in the 1980s & 90s with St. Louis (Steamers, Storm, Ambush) as its epicenter; AND
The “invisible hand” of Anheuser Busch executive Denny Long.
PLUS: There “Ain’t No Stoppin’” our tribute to the MISL’s iconic St. Louis Steamers!