With American soccer beginning to bloom after a memorable World Cup run, is it time to abandon the “Major League Soccer ” (MLS) name and adapt to the world’s game?
Throughout the history of MLS, doubt has been second nature to many of the worldwide fans. That tide is changing, thankfully.
The world has begun to pay attention to America, and by extension a bit of Canada. Nevertheless, the “moral decay” of soccer has started to grow even more stateside, prompting a widespread thought of change to the American game. For starters, a lot more teams in higher leagues (ie: Barclays Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga) are already knocking on the door of MLS, trying to get the Clint Dempseys or the DeAndre Yedlins. Some players even want to come to the states, whether it is to kickstart a new club, or get a whole new club and try and win a championship.
Regardless of the reason, it’s exploding. With MLS starting two new clubs in two seasons, is it time to change the name? With the premier talent and widespread attention, is a branding change in the works? While no direct evidence has surfaced of the league even attempting to change it, the end result seems appealing. Let’s be honest, when the new MLS established itself so it could host the World Cup, it began as Major League Professional Soccer, which makes it seem like the officials needed a quick name, something American, hence the Major League preface. Play began in 1995 with ten teams.
Throughout the next 19 years, the league began to grow. The league added it’s first two teams in 1998, with the Chicago Fire and the now-defunct Miami Fusion. Soccer specific stadiums started coming with the Columbus Crew Stadium becoming the first soccer-specific stadium in the league. The game has been changing the moment the league started. The numerous leagues in the states have the potential to mirror those tiered leagues, like what the English game runs. It cycles the game, keeps a fresh face. For example, relegation is a huge part of the Barclays Premier League. You read about how a team could purposely tank to receive a high pick in a draft, in order to better their chances at getting a star player. If you did that in the BPL, you wouldn’t receive a high pick, you’d reserve a spot on a lower tiered table. It breeds competition, a certain edge that is unrivaled in the United States.
Tier I: MLS
Tier II: North American Soccer League
Tier III:USL Pro
I am not saying that relegation has to be exactly parallel to that of the BPL, but it would grow the game even more. Throw in the fact that many leagues loan players here and we loan players out, we would see influx of talent on American soil, you can bet that interest grows more and more. USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsman then did a crazy thing. He trusted the game, he built a system that shut out arguably the best United States player ever in favor of a 23-man squad, focused mainly on MLS players, with a few other leagues sprinkled in. After that, another crazy thing happened. It kind of worked.
Now after a remarkable run and an outstanding performance by most of the team, there is a growing interest in not only MLS, but the whole world of futbol/soccer. So this brings up the question, is a name change worth it? To me, when I think of great leagues, the name is part of the image. You want the outside looking in to think “Wow, a premier league, with talented names like Rooney, Howard, Ronaldo, Messi, etc.” That is what MLS could be. Throughout comments I have read on various websites, there is a lot of interest and support for changing the name entirely. While it isn’t the most necessary thing, it is definitely one thing that could change the way we are seen as an organization. These names below are not solid suggestions, but just some of the thoughts and ideas of potential names.
Check it out below!
Tags: Seattle Sounders