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With international soccer stars like Landon Donovan of the San Jose Earthquakes , David Beckham of LA Galaxy and Kaka, the popularity of the sport has grown tremendously over the years in the US. In 2015, the talented striker Erick Torres from Chivas USA, talked about Major League Soccer and its prospects, adding, "Major League Soccer is going to become one of the most important leagues in the world in no time. This league is growing and a lot of top-level players are going to want to come and play in the United States."
And indeed, he was right. Today, the professional first-division league in the US, the Major League Soccer (MLS) has a total of 19 US-based teams and 3 teams in Canada. In the mid-2000s, three of the soccer clubs in the league were already valued at $40 million or above, with the LA Galaxy alone worth $100 million. If you’re a soccer fan who is been meaning to watch the sport live, then get your soccer game tickets here and head to the MLS games this season. Soccer in the US is only expected to get bigger and better!
About Major League Soccer
Founded on 17th December, 1993, the Major League Soccer is a men’s professional soccer league comprising of 22 teams in total. The regular season for the MLS runs through March to October and each team plays a total of 34 games. The postseason involves twelve teams that compete in the MLS Cup Playoffs in November and December, eventually ending with the much-awaited championship game.
The first season of the MLS was played in 1996 with ten teams in total. Initially it ran into some financial troubles due to the lack of the popularity of the sport. But soon after, the league expanded, added more teams and built new soccer-specific stadiums. It wasn’t long after this that the average attendance for the MLS surpassed that of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL).
The headquarters for MLS are located in New York City.
Records of League Championships
LA Galaxy leads the list with the most championship wins (5 – 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014), followed by the 4 wins of D.C. United (1996, 1997, 1999, 2004) and 2 victories of the San Jose Earthquakes (2001, 2003). Sporting Kansas City (2000, 2013) and Houston Dynamo (2006, 2007) have also won two championships each. The teams that have not won any championship include the New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas and Toronto FC – but who knows, this might be the season for one of these teams!
The current MLS Cup holder is the Seattle Sounders FC, who won their first title in a tough, yet enthralling 2016 season. The current holder of the esteemed Supporters’ Shield – which is awarded to the team with the best record – is Toronto FC. It is the team’s first shield, which was won in 2017. LA Galaxy and D.C. United have won the most Supporters’ Shields – each team winning four.
The Big Names in Major League Soccer
2007 was a big year for Major League Soccer. Not only did it expand outside the US to bring in teams such as Toronto FC, it also welcomed one of the biggest names in the world of modern day soccer – David Beckham. Beckham arrived to play for the LA Galaxy under the Designated Player Rule, which allowed each MLS franchise to sign players that would typically be considered outside the team’s salary cap, by either offering high wages or by paying a transfer fee to get the player. This rule allowed US Soccer teams to compete for international stars in the world soccer market. By the end of 2015, the MLS had 114 designated players in the league.
David Beckham was the first person to be signed under this rule, for a staggering $6.5 million guaranteed annual salary. Future contracts saw big names join the league – including Thierry Henry, who joined the New York Red Bulls in 2010, Robbie Keane, who joined the LA Galaxy in 2011, Clint Dempsey who joined the Seattle Sounders in 2013, Kaka, who joined the Orlando City SC in 2015, Steven Gerrard, who joined the LA Galaxy in 2015, Juan Pablo Angel, who joined the Red Bulls in 2007 and Sebastian Giovinco, who joined the Toronto FC in 2015. With such big names adding pure talent and giving American soccer the international limelight it needed, soccer developed rapidly in the country.
MLS 2018 – What to Expect
Before heading into the latest soccer season, there are a few things you should be updated about.
The New York City FC is on the rise. The team finished second in the Eastern Conference in the last season and their star striker, David Villa, is on the top of his game.
Dos Santos is the new man for LA Galaxy. Fans of the club have high expectations from the Mexican star. With Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Steven Gerrard gone, Galaxy now belongs to Dos Santos.
Seattle will be looking to become the fourth team to become consecutive championship winners and also the sixth team to reach the MLS Cups in two consecutive years. At the other end of matters, there is hope for Chicago Fire and Houston. For fans of these teams, the 2018 season for MLS promises to be a lot of excitement.
Cheap Soccer Tickets
Lucky for the soccer fans in the US, cheap soccer tickets are now available. So, grab your soccer tickets, put on your favorite team’s shirt and head on to the stadium to witness history in the making. Will Seattle be able to take home the cup again? Will Houston finally rise up the ranks and surprise everyone? You can’t really know for sure unless you head to the games!