Baker's City Bites: 9-28-21


     You might think that a team that doesn't kick off for another 18 months would be sparse on

news and notes as they work to build out their infrastructure behind the scenes. Lucky for us, our club

had a massive runway between having the team and identity announced vs kicking off. In fact, it's been

the longest runway in MLS history. That puts us in an enjoyable moment, where there is plenty to work

towards and look forward to, but plenty of news coming out for CITY SC too. This week saw some new

app content released, some big news from MLS/Liga MX's Leagues Cup tournament that will directly

impact STL CITY SC in 2023, the latest matches played by our Academy squads, the official kickoff to the

club's latest community initiative, and a bit of news came about regarding the supporters section for the

new stadium.

     The biggest news that came out of this past week were full pricing and purchasing details that

came out around tickets in the 3,000+, north end, safe-standing supporters section in CITY's new

stadium. As a nod to the appreciation that CITY has for their supporters, these will be the first non-

premium tickets to go on sale to the general public. Beginning October 19 th , fans who want to stand,

chant, sing, and show their support for the team for over 90 minutes every match can purchase their

season tickets in the order in which their deposit was made. There is a FAQ section up on the club's

website with additional details. Season tickets in the supporters section will be $391, or $23 per match

for the 17 game MLS schedule.

     There were a lot of speculation about season ticket prices, usually ranging from $450-$500 per

season and based on the below chart for prices next year for clubs with regional proximity to us and

soccer specific stadiums, we fall on the lower end of the spectrum. If social media was any indication,

everyone was very pleased with what the club was able to pull off with these prices.

    One last point on the supporter's section: the St. Louligans, the largest supporter's group for St.

Louis CITY SC, put together a really nice article outlining what a supporter's section is and what you can

expect by purchasing ticket there and it is well worth a read:

Just one day after the supporter's section news came out, MLS and LigaMX made their own

league-wide splash. Just before the final match of this year's League's Cup, they announced that starting

in 2023, the League's Cup will be greatly expanded and revamped to be something unheard of in global

club soccer. Backing up a bit for background, LigaMX is the Mexican first division league featuring teams

such as Club America, Tigres, Cruz Azul, and Guadalajara. League's Cup is a cross-league tournament

that started in 2019 between 4 clubs in MLS and 4 clubs in LigaMX. It started as a means of collaboration

between the two leagues as both are looking to grow their audiences, especially ahead of the 2026

World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by the US, Canada, and Mexico. There really hasn't been

anything on the line for the League's Cup in the two years it has been held (2020's was cancelled due to

COVID). Essentially they've been glorified friendlies/exhibitions. The announcement this year though,

detailed plans to expand the tournament to every team in MLS and LigaMX, totaling 47 currently, and

create the largest cross-league tournament in the world. Starting in 2023, this means that St. Louis CITY

SC will be a participant in this tournament. By participating in MLS, the US Open Cup, and League's Cup,

this makes St. Louis CITY SC the first MLS club to participate in 3 competitions in their first year of play.

There will be plenty to analyze between roster makeups to fight fixture congestion and how much we'll

continue to rely on our Academy and MLS2 club, but more matches for fans against a range of clubs will

undoubtedly be more exciting for fans.

     There are two other components of this League's Cup that really set it apart of anything we've

seen before. The first are the rewards. In addition to an undisclosed but rumored to be multi-million

dollar prize for the champion, we now know that 3 CCL spots are up for grabs. The winner, 2 nd place and

3 rd place finishers will all receive spots in the Concacaf Champions League tournament - our equivalent

of the UEFA Champions League. Immediately, that raises the stakes, as the Champion's League is the

path towards the FIFA Club World Cup - the highest level of club football in the world. While that is

impactful, a problem with today's version of League's Cup has been with fixture congestion. This year,

Sporting KC lost to Leon 6-1, after SKC played their reserve squad because they prioritized an MLS match

they had a few days later. The other big component of this new tourney is that both MLS and LigaMX

will pause their seasons for one month and this tournament will be held World Cup style: A dedicated

group stage followed by a single elimination tournament to crown a champion. Once complete, both

leagues will resume their season. This will ensure top lineups are used throughout. The tournament will

also be held around the late-July/August timeframe, which is historically the slowest period of the sports

calendar. No NBA, NFL, EPL, NHL, etc. Eyes will be on this tournament and our club will be in it. If 2023

wasn't already a year worth looking forward to, this will make it that much more special.

     Our favorite new app also had some regular content updates including some fun soccer tennis

played at the CITY SC, another soccer 101 article, and most notably, our first highlight video of the

Academy squads' first home match victories against Shattuck-St. Mary's. It wets the appetite and is

hopefully a harbinger of things to come regarding Academy content. More news and info about our boys

on the field, stats, standings, schedule and highlights would all be welcome. On field for the Academy,

this past weekend saw our U16 squad win a friendly against Sporting KC 2-1 with Jackson Delkus

continuing his hot streak by adding another goal. He continues to be exciting to watch as he has netted a

score in all contests for our U16 squad this year. On the flip side, our U17s fell to Sporting KC 1-5 in an

MLS Next contest. They started strong and scored first, but SKC responded quickly and ran away with it.

Full matchday recap is here:

     The last big item this past week for CITY SC saw their off the field community engagement

efforts take a huge step forward with Saturday September 25 th 's official kickoff for their new futsal court

at Marquette Park in Dutchtown. Partnering with multiple local organizations in Dutchtown and

Marquette Park along with Fred Maboneza of Umoja, and designed by local artist Jayvn Solomon, CITY

collaborated to open the first futsal court in the City of St. Louis. Khalia Collier, VP of Community

Relations, alongside numerous CITY staff were on hand for a press conference and some scrimmage

matches with Umoja players and others, with kids and families involved in activities on the court for a

fun morning celebrating soccer in St. Louis. The club is looking to bring clinics and learning opportunities

to this court as well as continuing to explore opportunities for more projects throughout the city. It will

be exciting to see future developments arise and CITY continuing to use their resources and coaching

experience to grow the sport.

By Matt Baker