A southwestern Illinois attorney who’s tried to bring professional men’s soccer to St. Louis is banding together with team owners in six other cities to form a new breakaway North American league.

Jeff Cooper’s St. Louis Soccer United will join with owners of the Atlanta SilverbacksCarolina Railhawks, Miami FC, Minnesota ThunderMontreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps.

Most of the clubs have been affiliated with the United Soccer Leagues. The new league is hoping to begin play in April.

The owners applied Monday for sanctioning as a Division II Men’s Outdoor Professional League by the United States Soccer Federation. A similar petition to the Canadian Soccer Association is pending.

Montreal Impact’s president Joey Saputo is the league’s chairman. Cooper is a Madison County personal-injury lawyer and the league’s spokesman.

The league still must tap a commissioner and a name.

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