The MLS: This isn’t just a retirement home

I had always thought of the MLS as a very low-level league. You know, below the English Premier League and the Spanish League and co. My reason for this is not so far-fetched; the US places more value in baseball and basketball than football (or soccer, as they call it). This means that you would be hard-pressed to find an American soccer player that is known worldwide the way we all know David Beckham.

Or so I thought in 2009. Things have moved up so dramatically for the US Major League Soccer ever since they began to sign players from majo European leagues. Not that this is a new thing per se, but I think David Beckham was the first galactico import to the MLS. He brought the superstar status to LA Galaxy, and others have followed his lead. Since Becks made his multi-million dollar move from Real Madrid to Los Angeles, European players have found the other side of the Atlantic to be a viable option in terms of career opportunities.

For one thing, the MLS has a lot of amazing clubs, just like the European leagues. I have mentioned LA Galaxy. There is New York Red Bull, who signed Arsenal’s former goal machine Thierry Henry in 2013. Seattle Sounders was the first American club whose match I watched; they played Chelsea in 2012. There also is New York City FC, which is a partner club with Manchester City. In fact, these American clubs bear certain similarities with the best clubs in England and Europe.

Th MLS is more than just a tourist destination nowadays. Most of the clubs there have adopted a policy of signing major stars in the last years of their playing career. David Beckham played his last full year of football in LA, after a brief loan spell with PSG. Frank Lampard is currently in the twilight of his career at NYCFC. So is Andrea Pirlo, one of the greatest Italian footballers ever. David Villa, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Didier Drogba are some of the players that made waves in Europe, and then came to America to retire. For this reason, people call the MLS “The Retirement Home”. I assure you, however, that the MLS looks and feels just like our favorite European leagues.

Add Comment