Baker's City Bites: 10-19-21
This week in St. Louis CITY, you could say we saw more of a glimpse into the future than a typical week. With a somewhat calm week, the weekend and into the first part of this week saw a lot of excitement build in some new and very exciting ways. Last Friday, a Zoom discussion was held between city political leaders, community leaders, leaders from Harris Stowe State University and St. Louis CITY SC that detailed the layout and impact that the Brickline Greenway will have to the City of St. Louis. Khalia Collier, VP of Community Relations, represented St. Louis CITY SC and as she would detail, a historic announcement was made that will heavily influence the experience that everyone, fans and non-fans alike, will have in Midtown and Downtown West, including the CITY SC Stadium.
The Brickline Greenway will be a part of the Great Rivers Greenway that extends from Forest Park down to the Arch Grounds as well as from Fairground Park down to Tower Grove Park. At the central core of this greenway, outside of Harris Stowe and at the southwest corner of the CITY SC stadium at Market and 22nd will be multiple pillars made of polished granite slabs that will have materials at the top to represent sand and sediment that as East St. Louis resident and nationally acclaimed artist Damon Davis says, "represent hourglasses that hold time still". This entire monument pays tribute to the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood. This once thriving and vibrant component of the City of St. Louis was razed by the city in the 1950s with an eye towards "urban renewal". Once home to over 20,000 residents, the investment and rebuilding never fully took place. As the failed I-755 and empty lands to its' west can illustrate, this land sat largely vacant until recently.
St. Louis CITY SC has often spoke about being a good neighbor and creating their facilities with an eye towards being a part of the neighborhood and not as much of a "spaceship" that is dropped into a city. This work and this partnership continue to prove that CITY does what they say they will do. By helping to facilitate this monument to the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood as a core component of their stadium plans, they are ensuring that the legacy and history of the people who lived here and in this part of the city, is never forgotten. It also creates opportunity for an entirely new generation of people living in and visiting the city to understand the history of St. Louis better than ever. I saw so many comments that people never knew the details, let alone the existence of the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood. I only learned about its' history a few years ago. Now, every event held at the stadium, every away fan, every visitor to this area will have an opportunity to see and experience this monument front and center. The best part may be that it was also confirmed that this first portion of the Brickline Greenway, the pillars and monuments outside of the stadium will be complete in time for CITY SC's first home game in spring 2023.
This weekend our STL CITY SC Academy teams were in action once again against the FC Dallas Academy. As we hoped, the CITY U17s returned home and kept their home winning streak alive. FC Dallas was thought by many to be a great benchmark for the club as they are often pointed to as one of the elite MLS Academies, having produced such top, often internationally recognized talent as Reggie Cannon, Chris Richards, Bryan Reynolds, Justin Che, and Kellyn Acosta. The USMNT call ups in various tournaments have been riddled with FCD alumni. With all the buildup and competition that we knew they would provide, CITY SC took care of business at home, 4-2. Goals scored by Caden Glover (2'), Miguel Perez (20'), Jacob Lusignan (44' PK), and Anthony Faupel (56') provided more than enough firepower for CITY. Faupel also provided an assist, while Aaron Heard who has also been in great form added 2 assists. The goals may have created the biggest moments, but there were also some exciting appearances in this U17 match. Nick Bishop featured in net for the U17s, having proven himself as the primary goalkeeper for the U16 squad so far this year. Other perennial U16 starters Tyson Pearce and the high scoring Jackson Delkus also entered the match as subs in the 2nd half, Pearce for Nolan McGuire, and Delkus for Caden Glover. The lack of action for the U16 squad this week provided an early glimpse and our first real opportunity as fans, to see some upward movement between squads and a potential sign of things to come as we continue to look ahead to how the rosters will shake out when the MLS LDL squad begins to be identified and kicks off in March 2022. St. Louis CITY SC has full details in their matchday report.
Having the Academy squad win is always exciting, but for fans, another incredibly exciting milestone for the club is happening around the time this article comes out. October 19, 2021 marks the day that season tickets for the 3,000+ seat North End supporters section will go on sale. The club is using timestamps from season ticket deposits earlier this year to create windows that fans will have to purchase their tickets. 12pm on October 19 is the first window, with windows opening at least at 2pm and 4pm and again the following days. While your window will not close after 2 hours, this provides a period of exclusive time for fans to purchase before more supporters have an opportunity. I can only imagine the club is hoping to not crash the SeatGeek website, since it is safe standing and general admission throughout the entire section, really removing the need to purchase at 12pm as opposed to 1pm or 130pm, unless of course you want to be one of the first to say you have tickets, and maybe, just maybe, notch a cool season ticket holder badge in the CITY app. It's a momentous week for CITY supporters and a unique strategy that the club has employed to prioritize their most passionate supporters with an early opportunity to purchase season tickets, knowing General Reserved will not going on sale until Spring 2022. Teams don't have to do this, but ours is, and that shouldn't go unnoticed. That, and the fact that they aren't trying to sell these as the "cheapest option" for seats, unlike some of our friends on the East coast are having to do. Of course, that might have more to do with PSLs and required supporter fees to the club too - other things we don't have to worry about either.
I hope everyone has fun this week as we start to see fans and supporters able to take ownership of the experience and put down hard earned money to say that they're all in and want to be there with the club for the ride. We've seen the CITY Founders, we've seen the Mutt Cutts van, now the keys are truly being turned over to the fans. These aren't deposits. These are the real deal, and it is exciting and a bit surreal that we have finally arrived at this moment, 3 years and 10 days after #MLS4THELOU started and with 17 months yet to go until we kickoff in MLS league play.
By Matt Baker