The news MLS fans knew was coming has finally become official.
France international Thierry Henry will be coming to a MLS stadium near you. And if you reside in the New York Metro Area, that stadium will be frequently visited by the former Arsenal and current Barcelona forward, playing with his new team, the New York Red Bulls.
Henry has struggled at the Nou Camp this season, seeing his playing time cut by a combination of injuries and Pep Guardiola's preference to Bojan Krkic. Having Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi up front hurts also.
Henry will join the Red Bulls after the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and is by far the biggest name to be named a designated player (also referred to as the "Beckham Rule") since the man whom the rule is nicknamed for came over in 2007 from another one of the two Spanish giants, Real Madrid.
Henry will become the eighth designated player active in MLS. In fact, one of the other seven will play alongside him up front in Juan Pablo Angel.
So, the question now is: How will this affect the Red Bulls and MLS?
The obvious effect will be seen once the World Cup is over with Henry and Angel forming a partnership up front, and if there is one thing Henry knows how to do well, it is score goals. Since he turned pro in 1994 with Monaco, the Frenchman has 232 club goals in official competitions and another 51 internationally.
The Red Bulls are currently in first in the East going into the weekend at 15 points, up four on second place Columbus, and this addition could propel them further ahead and to the Eastern Conference title.
For MLS, bringing another big name over from Europe, even if he his past his prime, into one of the biggest markets in the country is impressive. Many people consider the Beckham Experiment to be a failure even though the Galaxy made the MLS Cup last season. With the Beckham Experiment about to be over with, the league needed a new European star to promote the league with, and Henry will now be it.
The addition of Henry could also help bring over other older European stars. The most likely of the names being rumored to come over is Henry's former foe from the Premier League, Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Other names that have been thrown out in rumors are Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, and Raul.
If Henry has the success like that of his former Arsenal teammate Freddie Ljungberg, the response of older European players coming over will continue to be positive, especially if they are able to play in the big market cities like New York, LA, Chicago, and possibly another New York team in the future.
Thierry Henry will bring buzz to the MLS internationally that it needs, and Don Garber and all of the MLS clubs and fans are hoping for this to be a success to give the league even more international respect.