Edwardsville native Sam Fink, a key member of the St. Louis FC team.ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis FC, the area's current professional soccer team who plays in the second-tier United Soccer League USL Championship, announced on Tuesday that they will go out of business and cease operations, ending a six-year run as the area's professional soccer team.

Edwardsville native Sam Fink has been a key component of the team, owned by St. Louis' Scott Gallagher, who also owns the largest youth club in the area. Gallagher cited the current COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as the formation of St. Louis City SC, the area's entry in the top-flight Major League Soccer, as the reasons for the club's folding, which will take place at the end of the current USL Championship season.

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"It has been an amazing six-plus years," club president Patrick Barry said in an E-mail to the team's supporters. "We have created something special that will never be duplicated, and thus always be "ours" to share. Though this is not how any of us wanted to see Saint Louis FC to end, I am choosing to celebrate how we broke the mold in so many ways since our announcement on May 1, 2014. I am choosing to celebrate that we truly put our city back on the national soccer landscape, and laid the foundation for what we hope will be amazing things in the next chapter."

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Barry thanked the players, coaches, staff and fans, particularly the Saint Louligans, the local soccer supporters group, for their support. Barry also credited the fan support for much of the club's success over the years. He also thanked many of the club's management, including World Wide Technology president Jim Kavanaugh, a former pro soccer player from St. Louis, and chief financial officer Tom Strunk, for their help and various member of the Scott Gallagher management for their assistance in the team's success.

Barry asked the fans to give St. Louis City SC, who will begin play in 2023, the same chance to build support and relationships the same way the fans did for STLFC.

STLFC is currently at 4-3-2 for 14 points, good for second place in Group E of the abbreviated 2020 season, five points behind group leaders Indy Eleven SC of Indianapolis, and currently in the second playoff spot for the group. The team averaged over 4,000 fans-per-game in West Community Credit Union Station at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo., but will play the remainder of their home season without fans, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The team will host arch-rival Louisville City FC on Saturday night, with a kickoff time of 7 p.m. The game will be livestreamed on ESPN Plus, as will all remaining matches for the season.

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