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Friday, 28 May 2010

Red Bulls News History of Major League Soccer

History of Major League Soccer
The Major League season runs from March until November . The 16 teams in the league are divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences.
MLS has three automatic berths in the CONCACAF Champions League for its American clubs with an additional spot available via the U.S. Open Cup; Canadian clubs in MLS qualify via the Canadian Championship. For the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League, the qualifying clubs are MLS Cup 2009 champion Real Salt Lake, Supporters' Shield winner Columbus Crew, MLS Cup runner-up Los Angeles Galaxy, 2009 U.S. Open Cup winner Seattle Sounders FC, and 2010 Canadian Championship winner Toronto FC.

MLS also has four berths in SuperLiga, a competition jointly organized by the MLS and Mexico's football governing body, the FMF. The top four overall teams from the season, excluding those participating in the Champions League, will compete in the SuperLiga.
In 1996, Major League Soccer's original ten teams- Columbus Crew, D.C. United, New England Revolution, NY/NJ MetroStars, Tampa Bay Mutiny, Colorado Rapids, Dallas Burn, Kansas City Wiz, Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Clash, began competing . The early years of the league gave rise to the Bruce Arena-led dynasty of D.C. United, which won MLS Cups in three of the league's first four seasons. It took the expansion of Chicago Fire in `98 to end United's stranglehold on MLS Cup. Also joining the league in 1998 were the Miami Fusion.
After its first season, MLS suffered from a decline in attendance`s. The league's quality was cast into doubt when the U.S. men's national team, made up largely of MLS players, was eliminated in the first round of the 1998 World Cup and finished last .
The league began to market itself on the talents of American players, both experienced veterans and fresh young talents. Stars like DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan began making names for themselves in MLS before breaking into and starring for the U.S. national team, while established players such as Brian McBride, Eddie Pope, Clint Mathis continued to prove their value to both their MLS clubs and the U.S. national team.
The league's ongoing financial problems led to the departure of Commissioner Doug Logan after the 1998 season. Don Garber, a former NFL International chief, was hired in his place and his leadership became instrumental to shoring up the league's future. Construction of soccer-specific stadiums for the league's teams, largely funded by financiers such as Lamar Hunt and Phil Anschutz, became a point of emphasis to bring fiscal health and ensure the league's survival. Hunt's Columbus Crew Stadium, built in 1999, is often cited as a league model.

Since 2007, Major League Soccer's leadership has taken steps to further internationalize the league in an effort to raise the level of play. Among the first moves in this regard was the Designated Player Rule, which helped MLS bring international stars into the league, despite the relatively meager MLS salary cap, and the creation of the SuperLiga, which places top MLS clubs against top Mexican clubs in an effort to provide more meaningful competition for both leagues. MLS changed the rules regarding foreign players in the league to allow a total of 8 per team. This period also saw expansion reach beyond the United States' borders into Canada, beginning with Toronto FC.
The 2007 season witnessed the MLS debut of David Beckham, whose signing had been seen as a coup for American soccer. Beckham's contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy was made possible by the Designated Player Rule. Players such as Cuauhtémoc Blanco of Club América signed for the Chicago Fire, and Juan Pablo Ángel, who moved from Aston Villa to the New York Red Bulls, are some of the first Designated Players who have made major contributions to their clubs.With rumours of more top european players on the way the future of the league looks to be big.
The departures of Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, coupled with the return of former U.S. national team stars Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride to New York and Chicago, respectively, highlight the exchange of top prospects to Europe for experienced veterans to MLS. Several other well-known foreign players have followed Beckham and Blanco to MLS, including Guillermo Barros Schelotto to Columbus and Freddie Ljungberg to Seattle.
By 2008 San Jose had returned to the league under new ownership. In 2009 expansion side Seattle Sounders FC opened to a crowd of 32,523 at Qwest Field. The 2010 season ushered in the expansion franchise Philadelphia Union. That summer the league debuted Union's PPL Park and New York Red Bulls' striker Thierry Henry, the leading all-time goalscorer of Arsenal FC and France national football team. Expansion teams, The Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC will begin play in the league in 2011. Vancouver will become the second Canadian city to have been awarded a team in MLS.

Information sourced from Wikipedia
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