A lot of casual fans got their soccer craze when the whole nation watched our country the United States play against the world’s best soccer players on the biggest stage in the world, the World Cup. But what if I told you, that there is a great league right in front of our nose to watch? Let me introduce to you the exciting world of MLS. The MLS has grown since they began play in 1996 and now is the best time to get into it! The MLS plays a 34 game season spanning from early March to October, with the championship (MLS Cup) game occurring in early December.
The MLS is comprised of 20 teams with 17 in the United States and 3 in Canada. Of those teams, they have the high profile teams such as the New York Redbulls, LA Galaxy, and New York City FC. Also of the 20 teams is the local Philadelphia Union who have made one playoff appearance and one US Open Cup (Different from the MLS Cup) championship appearance since they began playing in 2010. The league is growing rapidly with New York City and Orlando City being expansion teams this season with many more to come. Atlanta will be coming in 2017, followed by a second Los Angeles team and then Minnesota.
A major factor that is putting more people in the seats now is all the very talented players in the league now. Some of the United States’ stars you watched in the summer are in the MLS and dominating in fact. Clint Dempsey plays for the Seattle Sounders, and star forward, and midfielder Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley play for Toronto FC. But those aren’t the only stars who came into the league recently. New York City has Spanish star David Villa and English star Frank Lampard calling the shots on the team. Italian superstar Sebastian Giovinco is playing for Toronto this year, and is taking the league by storm. And who can forget, Brazilian superstar, former World Cup champion, as well as former Fifa World Player of the year (an award now given to Ronaldo and Messi every year), Kaka who is a one man team for Orlando City.
The MLS is a league that is still growing, but with more teams coming on the way I’d say the future is still looking quite bright. More and more of the game’s top superstars are coming to play here in the US, as Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo are rumored to be coming in the next few years. With the league only getting bigger I urge all of you to give the MLS a look. Back in the 90’s the craze was getting your kid to play soccer on Saturday morning and giving them orange slices in between halves. Now, all those players are grown up and playing in front of thousands of screaming fans, having the times of their lives. MLS still isn’t considered to be in the same realm with the MLB, NFL, NHL, or NBA, but with all the support it is starting to get, this league be up there with the best in next coming years.
Author: Matthew Nissenfeld
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