Soccer's popularity in the Southeast continues to grow year after year, and multiple cities across the region appear primed to be a part of the sport's professional landscape in the United States. Popular podcast Soccer Down Here spoke to local influencers in Huntsville and Montgomery, Alabama, as well as in Macon, Georgia, about the potential for professional soccer in each city.
Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities President Paul Hankins, who also serves on Board of Directors for the Central Alabama Sports Commission, joined the show to discuss professional soccer’s possibility in Montgomery on Thursday. Duke Groover – who is a senior partner at James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP and leading the steering committee to bring professional soccer to Macon – and President & CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Inc. Chad Emerson, meanwhile, talked to Soccer Down Here hosts Jason Longshore, Jon Nelson and Jarrett Smith about USL Division III on Friday.
“It’s certainly the kind of thing that cities our size in the Southeast are very interested in,” Hankins told Soccer Down Here. “I think there’s a natural place for this level league in the Southeast to create some great regional rivalries that would really draw in soccer fans.”
The United Soccer League’s DIII expansion team, which will visit four cities in New England from Nov. 6-10, has met with business leaders and city officials in multiple cities across the Southeast and Midwest since formally announcing its launch in April. Currently, the new third-division league is conducting expansion discussions in more than 50 markets across the nation.
Listen to Soccer Down Here's full interviews here.