As the capital of Alabama, the city of Montgomery boasts a vibrant, bustling downtown and looks to be a strong candidate for a professional soccer franchise following Thursday’s visit by the United Soccer League’s Division III expansion team.
Home to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama – a $1.7 billion, two-million square-foot manufacturing facility – and Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery has continued to add to its rich history with recent downtown developments and the addition of a Minor League Baseball franchise in 2004.
“Montgomery is a proven sports market,” USL’s DIII Vice President Steven Short told USLD3.com, “as exhibited by the success of the Montgomery Biscuits in MiLB, the annual Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, the youth sports scene and university athletics.”
In April, the USL – one of the most prominent Division II leagues in the world – announced the development of a new third-division league that will kick off in 2019. Since then, the new league’s expansion team has visited 18 different cities, including markets in Alabama, two in Georgia and five in the Carolinas.
League executives met with city officials and local business leaders during the visit to Montgomery, and conversations held were positive. The city bears similarities to others across the nation, according to Short, in that it has an underlining passion for soccer despite not currently having a professional soccer team.
“The city boasts a global community,” Short said, “as an international influence continues to grow with the development of a Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, which has been accompanied by more than 90 of Hyundai’s suppliers establishing operations in the area.
“The capital city of Alabama continues to see growth,” Short added. “From the new Eastchase shopping and entertainment district to the United States Air Force Air University and the Riverwalk Amphitheater, Montgomery has a lot to offer as a future home of professional soccer.”