Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Major League Soccer (MLS)

The LA Galaxy defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-0 during a Major League Soccer (MLS) at Home Depot Center stadium in Carson, California on Saturday April 20, 2013.

The Major League Soccer traces its history to 1988. It is a professional soccer body. It is a major professional sports league both in the US and the Canada.

The league comprises 20 teams – 17 from the US and 3 from the Canada.

In the 1993, it was founded after the US successfully bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. MLS was officially formed in February 1995 in exchange for the FIFA granting the hosting rights to the US.

In 1996, the first season of play began with ten teams. During the initial years, the league lost money and had to fold in two teams after the 2001 season. It has since rebounded and grown in popularity and attendance.

It is the most recent of the three of professional men’s Division 1 national association football leagues.

MLS experimented with many of the established rules in the hoping of Americanizing a foreign game. However several experiments later, it conceded that instead of drawing more fans to the game, it had alienated existing fans.

In the 1998 World Cup, it came into much criticism after the US men’s national team comprising of mainly MLS players lost to every opponent in the group matches and finished in the last place, thereby getting eliminated.

There were established names in the likes of Brian McBride, Edie Pope, and Clint Mathis and others like DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan. The league saw change in its head with the departure of Commissioner Doug Logan in August 1999.

New Commissioner Don Garber built a new stadium specifically for holding soccer games, beginning a trend that saw many more being built in later years. The MLS continued to be plagued by financial problems losing millions of dollars. Meanwhile the league of international players who had joined MLS continued to retire or move to other clubs in the world. Towards 2002, the MLS changed its philosophy to development of American soccer talent which brought it much success.

To curb the losses, it reduced its expenses and contracted two of its 12 teams. It wasn’t in the pink of health anymore and was left with a handful of owners of whom one owned six teams and only one team having its own soccer stadium.

After the US made it to the quarterfinals, unexpectedly in the 2002 World Cup, soccer sort of revived in the US and helped MLS survive. In the years leading up to the 2006 World Cup, MLS went through major overhaul when many of its star players moved to more famous European leagues.

By moving teams out of large American football stadiums to soccer specific stadiums, MLS was able to resolve part of its financial instability.

It is towards 2011 that MLS saw much change in its membership. The signing of David Beckham in 2007 was a high point in MLS history with online bookmaker bet365 jumping all over the news. For a detailed bet365 review, you can visit this comprehensive site. It was made possible through the Designated Player Rule. During this period, MLS expanded into Canadian borders with the inclusion of Toronto FC.