March 16, 2015 / 8:09 PM / in 3 years

MLS in 'advanced talks' over new team in Minnesota

MLS commissioner Don Garber speaks about the state of the league at Google Offices. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Minnesota looked to be at the front of the line to get a Major League Soccer team after commissioner Don Garber said on Monday that he is in ‘advanced talks’ with investors in the city.

Bill McGuire, former chairman of UnitedHealth Group and owner of second tier club Minnesota United has been pushing hard for Minnesota to be at the head of the next wave of expansion in MLS.

“We are in advanced discussions with Bill McGuire and his partners in Minnesota to bring a Major League Soccer expansion club to the Twin Cities and are particularly excited about their plans for a new soccer-specific stadium that will serve as the club’s home,” Garber said in a statement.

“We remain on track to announce the next MLS expansion market in the next 30-45 days, though no specific date for an announcement has been set,” he added.

MLS grew to 20 clubs this season with Orlando City and New York City FC both joining the league.

Two more clubs, Atlanta and a second Los Angeles team, will enter MLS in 2017.

MLS had previously said that the current wave of new clubs would stop at 24 teams but Garber said the league was already looking beyond that number.

“Over the course of 2015, we plan to evaluate potential expansion beyond 24 clubs,” he said.

“Expansion continues to be a priority for Major League Soccer. We have all witnessed the resounding success that Orlando City SC and New York City FC have experienced,” added Garber

Former England captain David Beckham is working to bring a team to Miami although he has yet to meet the league’s demand for a centrally located new stadium.

Garber noted that there was no shortage of investors looking to bring teams to other cities.

“During the past several months, we have conducted expansion meetings with representatives from Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Sacramento and visited all three markets. We have also met with representatives from San Antonio and St. Louis. We recently announced that Las Vegas is no longer being considered for this round of expansion,” he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans. Editing by Steve Keating.

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