Charlotte makes 2 big soccer announcements, Panthers mum on MLS expansion

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The City of Charlotte continues to make strides in the soccer world with two big announcements, but they weren't what fans were expecting.

Mayor Vi Lyles joined Carolina Panthers president Tom Glick to announce that Bank of America Stadium will host an International Champions Club game for the next five years.

The ICC has brought big European club names to the Queen City including current Champions League Winners Liverpool, Manchester United, and Borussia Dortmund. This year’s game will see Arsenal take on FC Fiorentina on July 20.

The second announcement involves Romare Bearden Park, as ‘House of Soccer’ will take over July 19-20. The festival is two days of soccer exhibitions, live performances, gaming and pop-up shops.

What many in Charlotte were expecting was some type of update on the expansion of Major League Soccer coming to Charlotte. Glick said Panthers Owner David Tepper and the rest of his brain trust were playing its cards close to chest. Tepper and his team will be meeting with MLS officials next week in New York City to discuss a new franchise.

“I think the bid process is a fluid process,” Glick said. I'm not even so sure a formal bid process is right word to describe our focus. I think it’s clear to MLS executives, the commissioner and the owners that we have an interest. I think we have a great case, a very strong case.”

Currently at 24 teams with three more on the way, MLS is expected to expand to 30 teams in the near future.