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Seven groups submit applications for MLS expansion

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Seven potential ownership groups submitted official applications to become one of the next two Major League Soccer expansion teams, MLS President Mark Abbott announced on Wednesday.

The U.S.'s top-flight soccer league plans to add the two teams by 2011, bringing the league to 18 teams. MLS currently fields 14 teams with the Seattle Sounders FC beginning play next year and Philadelphia joining in 2010 as the 15th and 16th teams.

Submitting applications by Wednesday's deadline detailing information such as stadium plan and financing and an analysis of the potential expansion market were: Arthur Blank (Atlanta); FC Barcelona and Marcelo Claure (Miami); The Saputo and Gillett Families (Montreal); Eugene Melnyk (Ottawa); The Paulson Family (Portland); an investment group led by Jeff Cooper (St. Louis); and Greg Kerfoot, Steve Nash and Jeff Mallett (Vancouver).

An announcement regarding which markets will receive the next two expansion clubs will take place either late this year or early next year, according to the league.

10/15 19:42:03 ET