St. Louis City SC will make history as the first MLS franchise with a woman as President and CEO. Here’s what to know about Carolyn Kindle.
The 2023 MLS season kicks off with 12 games this weekend, and it will come with a bit of history.
St. Louis City SC will debut as MLS’s 29th franchise and the first in league history with a woman as President and CEO, and a majority-woman ownership group. That President and CEO is Carolyn Kindle, and her ownership group reportedly paid $200 million in expansion fees to bring the MLS its newest team. While she’s somewhat of a newcomer to the soccer realm, Kindle’s intent was always to bring another professional sports team to St. Louis and to help the community grow as a whole.
“We’re looking at programs that will help the team in general, but also the community,” Kindle said during media availability on Wednesday. “So we have City Futures, which is a program that we’re curating and fine-tuning for lack of a better term [to] introduce the sport of soccer to everybody in every community. One of the things we really want to do provide a playbook, so if other cities — especially expansion cities — need to go in and attract young soccer players or attract people that don’t even know they want to play soccer, we would hope that this would be an opportunity that we could share as well.”
Kindle is the granddaughter of Jack Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. She worked for Enterprise and naturally climbed the ranks to become President of Enterprise Holdings. Kindle shares ownership of the team with nine others, including her mother, aunt, uncle, and the rest of Taylor’s granddaughters.
Her particular ascendance breaks a new barrier that the MLS is proud to boast.
“We’re a league for a new America,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber told Reuters. “We want to have more diversity in our ownership groups so that we have diversity of thought, not just diversity of our fan base and of our coaching ranks and our administration, but diversity around our board table.”
Kindle explained the importance in bringing a team to the city and the rivalries that could ensue.
“If you look at the Cincinnatis, Nashvilles, Chicagos — those are all within six hours of driving from St. Louis,” she said. “So I think what we’re seeing is everybody wants to have a rivalry because we’re new, and there’s some potential down the road to develop sort of awe [for] a Midwest rivalry. Kansas City is the easiest because it’s always been there, whether it was the Royals, Cardinals, and then [formerly] the 49ers and the Rams.”
With Garber set to announce a 30th team before the end of 2023, St. Louis has an opportunity to grow the game in the city. But make no mistake: Kindle and co. want to win.
“As far as any sort of expectation or prediction, I want them to have fun. I want them to play well. I want them to bring excitement that everybody’s talked about,” Kindle said. “But I have a feeling, knowing the coaches in the sporting department, failure is not an option.”
It’ll be all business on Saturday when St. Louis City SC faces off against Austin FC at 8:30 p.m. ET. The match will be available to watch on Apple TV.
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