MLS: Better Than People Think?
With leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A, the MLS often gets overlooked in the world of soccer.
However, with the growing popularity of soccer in America and the rise in young, talented players, the MLS looks to become one of the elite leagues in the Western Hemisphere.
The MLS was created in 1996. After the success of the 1994 World Cup, Americans desperately wanted their own soccer league.
The league had a great start; Brian McBride was drafted No. 1 by the Columbus Crew, D.C. United won the inaugural MLS Cup, and over 78,000 fans were in attendance for the first All-Star game between the East and West.
Just over a decade later, the league contains 14 teams, and will be adding two more in the next two years.
Stars like Landon Donovan and David Beckham from the LA Galaxy, Eddie Johnson from the Kansas City Wizards, Kenny Cooper from FC Dallas, and Cuahtemoc Blanco from the Chicago Fire are bringing excitement to the MLS with their goal scoring antics.
All-Star games are still attracting huge crowds by MLS standards, with this year's game attracting 28,000 fans, and the All-Stars have a perfect 3-0 record in the last three years, beating clubs such as Chelsea, Celtic, and most recently West Ham. United.
While the MLS has had success in recent years, there is still some need for improvement. Many of the clubs still don't have their own stadiums, so they use football stadiums or college stadiums.
Many star players, such as Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Freddy Adu, and most recently Jozy Altidore, have gone to bigger clubs across the pond. The MLS needs to find new young talent, and fast, before they go to other clubs around the world.
The youth program is still fairly new to the MLS. With good decisions, the MLS can start recruiting their own homegrown players.
While the MLS has its own set of problems, the future looks bright for the league. We could be looking at the new elite world league within a few years. But for now, it's just America's elite league.
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