ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Wednesday afternoon Major League Soccer announced the four cities still in the running for two new expansion teams, but the Bay Area didn't make the cut.
MLS officials announced Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, and Sacramento would round out the cities still being considered for league inclusion.
CEO and chairman of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Bill Edwards, has been a driving force behind St. Petersburg's push to get the team to the next level.
In a statement regarding the league’s decision, he said in part, “I am very proud of what we have accomplished on and off the pitch. We set modern-day records in nineteen categories this past season. I continue to invest in refining our stadium plan and other elements of our bid to make it as strong and competitive as possible."
St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman says he's been in contact with MLS commissioner Don Garber both in person and by phone and feels the fight isn’t finished.
“We're disappointed but we also know this doesn't mean it's over,” said Kriseman. “The Tampa Bay region in general is I think the largest region from a TV market standpoint that does not have an MLS franchise.”
Kriseman says while the Rowdies didn't make this most recent batch of cities, there's still a chance to transition to MLS during the next selection process.
“There's going to be another round of franchise expansion that's going to happen and I think we have just as good a chance if not better than anyone else,” he said.
The timeline for the next round of cities has not been determined.