Friday, August 19, 2022

Why is MLS becoming popular among footballers? 

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Major League Soccer, popularly known as MLS, is a professional soccer league which is organised by the United States Soccer Federation. Currently, MLS is growing up in the worldwide football status as popular footballers are moving to this competition. Here we are discussing the top reasons for the recent success of MLS.

Major League Soccer started in 1996. Slowly but steadily this competition has grown up as some top players have experienced it. Currently, 28 teams participate in this competition (25 United States teams and three Canadian teams), while it will expand to 29 teams from the 2023 season.  

Famous players in MLS

Major League Soccer became popular in the world after the global football stars like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa, Wayne Rooney, Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Ashely Cole etc joined this competition in their late-career.  

beckham gerrard
David Beckham and Steven Gerrard

The Italian footballer Giorgio Chiellini and Wales’ football starrer Gareth Bale are the latest famous face to move into the MLS. In the meantime, Xherdan Shaqiri, Douglas Costa, Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Hernandez etc are some of the other popular faces who are experiencing  this US football culture.

In recent times, some players have decided to leave the European clubs and move to the MLS teams. The legendary Argentine footballer Lionel Messi and Brazilian footballer Neymar Junior, who are currently among the top 10 highest-paid soccer players, have reportedly wished to experience the MLS culture once in their football careers. So, there is no doubt about the rising popularity of Major League Soccer.

Lionel Messi and Neymar Junior
Lionel Messi and Neymar Junior (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Now, we are discussing some reasons for the rising popularity of MLS

Shorter season

European football is now facing the major issue of a longer season. While the club have serious commitments to the game during the full season with non-stop fixtures, the special pre-season tournaments are adding more match days for the top clubs. Though some players can avoid the pre-season matches with the permission of the club, these play an essential role for the teams to set up the squad before the beginning of a new season.

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Meanwhile, the shorter MLS season is helping the players to remain fit and healthy both physically and mentally. So, the players are much enjoying this competition.

Competition maintains in the tournament due to strong salary cap rules

MLS, New York City FC
New York City FC won their first MLS cup in 2021

Though Designated Player Rule, allocation money and homegrown player subsidy allow the teams to spend additional funds for the players, Major League Soccer’s teams are still majorly dependent on salary caps to sign the players. The salary cap rules have created healthy competition between the teams as it also helps the teams to maintain discipline financially.

Meanwhile, many European clubs are struggling financially. Also, due to having no major restrictions on players’ salaries, the richer clubs get huge benefits to sign the talented and star players. For a long time, we are experiencing the non-richer clubs’ consistent struggles to move up their scales.     

Competitiveness

We have already talked about the salary culture in Major League Soccer. It plays a very crucial role to maintain strong competitiveness among the teams season by season.

Meanwhile, most of the popular European countries’ top-tier football competitions haven’t much competitiveness, especially at the top of the points table.  

MLS still needs to improve

  • Global broadcasting, majorly needs to focus on Asia.
  • Game quality needs to improve.
  • Soccer cultural value in the USA is lower than the American Football, Basketball and Baseball. In the meantime, most European nations have the strong and major cultural values for football for a long time. 
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