Greg Lalas wrote a great article this morning.
It is hard to believe that Major League Soccer is turning 18. I remember it starting. Especially memorable since my team was one of the inaugural teams — COLUMBUS ‘TIL I DIE!
Some important points that many soccer fans forget, that Lalas (not Alexi) reminds us of:
- MLS is more competitive than La Liga and the EPL. MLS has had 9 different clubs win in the 17 years of existence. Compare that to the 9 that have won La Liga since 1929 OR the 5 that have won England’s top league since it was founded in 1992 (that is, the EPL not any other name than it had before).
- MLS is growing. It’s almost doubled since 2005. Attendance for MLS is 7th-highest in the world!
- Quality is always increasing. Look at the number of players that have made an impact worldwide. While we are still “a development league” for players to go play in “better” leagues…those players are making huge impacts. Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Brad Friedel, Timmy Howard, Clint Dempsey, Brian McBride, Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley, etc. etc. etc. have all made major impacts in foreign leagues for years. Recently, we’ve seen Brek Shea, Kei Kamara, Roger Espinoza, Geoff Cameron, and Andy Najar make an impact in their transfers internationally. There will only be more…
- MLS has had an impact with their playoff system and season calendar. Several European leagues run playoffs of some kind. Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently hailed the American soccer calendar. This means MLS set a precedent for the rest of the world! But it makes sense…play when the weather is the nicest. It’s not ideal to play in the snow. It’s not ideal to play in the deepest cold. The other side, the calendar can be separated into two phases: club and country. Set aside months when clubs aren’t playing to play international competitions. The biggest downfall, the World Cup would probably move out of its summer time slot.
That said, MLS has a long way to come from here. The SuperDraft is largely irrelevant. The DA system and homegrown players becoming more of an impact. What is going to happen with MLS’ 20th team? The never-ending debate on promotion/relegation. What exactly does the MLS and USL Pro “merger” do?
Either way…I’m glad I am a fan of Major League Soccer. I’m glad the League is becoming more and more popular. I won’t even give those people a time of day who want to talk down on the league. Rome wasn’t built overnight. And…I’m glad I live close enough to Columbus to make it to as many games as I can!
A little NSFW, and funny…but “I know I am, I swear I am…COLUMBUS ‘TIL I DIE!”