MLS comeback in Tampa? - FOX 13 News

MLS comeback in Tampa?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Not since the days of the Mutiny has there been so much hope for a Major League Soccer team in Tampa.

"What we're hoping we will achieve is a transformational aspect for Tampa so the world out there could see it's a soccer destination," said developer John Mitchell of VSI Tampa Bay.

He's talking about a grand opening in March 2016.

His company would build Tampa's own stadium with a retractable roof, a sports medicine facility and a training ground all in one.

Mitchell believes Tampa is ready for pro-soccer transformation

He's hoping to create a downtown destination with a soccer stadium built to major league specifications.  He plans to find private investors to turn Tampa into a soccer town.

"We've made no bones about it our long-term goals are LNS status.  To do that, you have to have the right facilities," Mitchell said.

But would another team in an area struggling to fill seats in a pro-baseball and pro-football stadium be able to support soccer?

"I don't know.  It's hard to say.  I would be wary about it just because I've never seen it full before," said Lauren MacTavise.

"Soccer doesn't have as big of a following as football, but on the other hand, if you bring that in and make it big here Tampa is a kind of a melting pot of a town there's a lot of people from all over America here," said Micah Anderson.

However, filling a 28,000 seat soccer stadium would be easier than a 65,000 seat football stadium.

"When you have twenty thousand people in Raymond James it looks ridiculous.  But when you have twenty thousand people in a 25,000 seat stadium it looks better for television purposes, and it's a different atmosphere," said Matt Wyatt.

"Tampa has a really rich soccer history. A lot of ex-players live there," said George Quaraishi.

Quraishi is a Jesuit grad who now publishes Howler magazine, a publication devoted to all things soccer.

"I used to go to Mutiny games, and I always pulled for Tampa to get another MLS because I think it's a great place for soccer growing up playing soccer there.  I know there are a lot of people who are in to the game," he said.

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