6. MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
We end the guide by bringing this all full circle back to the American soccer professional league. The MLS is a swiftly growing league here in the US and this guide was made with the MLS in mind. Commissioner Don Garber has done a wonderful job growing the league since he started as MLS commissioner in 1999. The MLS is looking to grow its ranks from the current 22 teams up to 28 by the year 2020.
Teams like the Columbus Crew, L.A. Galaxy, Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders have thrived with the new growth of the MLS. The west coast teams in particular have shown the staying power of the league with intense home field crowds and intense rivalries under the Cascadia Cup.
While the league has been criticized in recent years for only drawing older european players that have been “past their prime”, the growth of the MLS shows promise that bigger stars in the US and abroad will come to America to play association football. The MLS has had such success in the past few years that the MLS Final in 2016 was the most watched final since 1997.
It should also be noted that the MLS has seen attendance averages that outrank the NHL and NBA despite the relative lack of attention that soccer has received in the US outside of World Cup years. An average crowd of 18,733 for Major League Soccer outpaced the NBA at 17,273 and the NHL at 17,455 according to a Bleacher Report piece on American professional athletic’s attendance numbers.
This is the end of our guide to the world of soccer for American sports fans looking to get started in trying the sport out. For more soccer-based content and Detroit MLS pieces, stick with Detroit Sports Nation.