Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Just like the MLS keeping its young American talent, the league would do well to bring home more of its stars—a trend that has become much more common in recent years.
At this point, the interests of MLS and U.S. Soccer have become somewhat divergent in this regard. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has repeatedly stated his preference that his top players play in Europe, while also saying that in MLS, they are not held accountable for poor performances.
But for the league, bringing home a player like Jermaine Jones—whose inspired play and overt patriotism in the 2014 World Cup made him a fan favorite—can only be a good thing.
Other players, like Mix Diskerud, Aron Johannsson, Fabian Johnson, Julian Green, Jozy Altidore and John Anthony Brooks, also have their own cult followings and would likely become instant hits in MLS.
Again, bringing those players home would probably not be in the best interest of the U.S. national team, but it would undoubtedly help increase the popularity of MLS. In recent years, the league has also shown, with its financial commitment to players like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, that playing domestically can have substantial financial rewards.
Despite the ignorance of some sports pundits, there is not going to be a watershed moment for soccer in America. Every four years the sport has received an incremental bump in popularity due to the World Cup, and this year is no different.
For the older generation of fans, that moment was the 1994 World Cup, when the U.S.'s inspired play at home helped create the first generation of native-born soccer fans in America. The team's quarterfinal run in 2002 helped usher in another generation of Americans to the game. And more recently, Americans were drawn together by the team's dramatic win against Algeria in 2010.
This summer, the U.S.'s thrilling win against Ghana and an exciting match against Belgium helped create a number of new fans. Now, it's MLS' job to take advantage and draw them in.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnDHalloran
Follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/AmericanTouchline