David Beckham has backed the prospect of promotion and relegation eventually being introduced to MLS, but he warned "there needs to be a real stability in the league before you get to that point."
The 25th season of MLS kicks off on Saturday and will include two new expansion clubs, Inter Miami and Nashville.
Beckham, 44, is a part-owner of the Miami outfit, and they will finally make their MLS bow against LAFC on Sunday.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy superstar weighed in on the MLS promotion-relegation debate at a media roundtable for the launch of the new season, per Ryan Tolmich of Goal:
"On the relegation system, you know that's one thing that I've thankfully never experienced: being relegated. Luckily I always was always fighting to win leagues and to win championships. But it's something that I've been used to, you know, over the years, being part of league being part of leagues where there is a relegation system within whatever league I played it. It makes it exciting, but when you're talking about a league that's only been around for 25 years there needs to be a real stability in the league before you get to that point."
Per Tolmich, LAFC boss Bob Bradley recently said promotion and relegation "eventually has to happen" in MLS, and Beckham appears to be on the same page as the former United States head coach.
The former England captain has already played a major role in boosting the profile of MLS.
His move to LA Galaxy from Real in 2007 created a media frenzy across the globe and grabbed the attention of those previously uninterested in the American top flight. Beckham won the MLS Cup in 2011 and 2012 before moving to Paris Saint-Germain, where he finished his playing career.
MLS has since developed into a well-established, competitive league, but it continues to struggle to compete with Europe's top divisions. Jorge Mas, one of Beckham's ownership partners, is confident it will get there eventually:
The addition of Miami and Nashville has brought the total number of clubs in MLS to 26 across its two conferences.
The league plans to expand to 30 teams by 2022 with the addition of Austin FC, Charlotte, Sacramento Republic FC and a St. Louis franchise.
Seattle Sounders will start the 2020 campaign as defending champions after beating Toronto 3-1 in the 2019 MLS Cup.