CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Many soccer fans and many soccer pros we spoke with feel that Charlotte has it in the bag. And while an official announcement has not been made yet, they are excited about the prospect.
“I’m a huge fan of English Premier League soccer. I watch a lot of leagues of soccer,” soccer player Kyle Lunski said.
For them, the prospect of something more is exciting.
“I went to BoA stadium, I watched Liverpool and Milan a couple of years ago,” Lunski said.
That something more could happen sooner rather than later with Charlotte rumored to be at the very top of a shortlist for a new professional soccer franchise.
Some see it as the equivalent of the Panthers coming to Charlotte, but some see it as a sign of the times.
“I think from a business perspective, in terms of an economic impact, it's huge,” said Brad Wylde, Executive Director of the Queen City Soccer Club.
Talk of a MLS team in the Queen City has gone back years. Aborted starts and delays have pushed back plans for a long time, but that is now all in the past.
This year has really changed all that and many believe, so has David Tepper.
“It should be a great thing and all the boxes should be ticked,” Wylde said.
So far, city leaders are mostly staying mum. In a statement from the Mayor Vi Lyles’ office, they said, in part, "no city staff nor any elected officials are attending those meetings and any discussions about decisions that may be made at that meeting are premature at this time."
Many believe this could be a great move for the city.
“Time will tell, and there's already been a lot of interest whenever we brought in, essentially exhibition games,” said Peter Venchnak, a former soccer player whose kids have taken up the sport.
Even professional players think Charlotte would be a great place for another MLS team.
“I think the addition of a MLS and MWLS team would be incredible here,” said Megan Rapinoe during her visit to Charlotte for the House of Soccer in July.
She, like many others, believe Charlotte maybe a football city, but it can be a soccer city, too.
“I think it would be greatly supported here,” Lunski said.
FOX 46 did reach out to some city leaders on their thoughts on the prospect of a MLS expansion here in Charlotte. They did not get back to us.