Major League Soccer (MLS) is no longer a golden retirement home2 min read
NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL. These are the main sports leagues in the United States and the best in their respective disciplines worldwide and perhaps it is one of the things that make the Major League Soccer (MLS) have less prominence than these besides the fact of not being considered one of the top leagues in world football.
Since its creation in 1996 as a result of the growth in the popularity of football in the country by the time the 1994 FIFA World Cup was played on American soil, the Major League Soccer has had an image of being a minor league where some very good players are going to sign their last big contract before retiring.
Currently, the MLS has made a significant investment to attract talent from all over the world at both player and manager level, thus slowly but surely changing the perception that this league can only attract players in their last legs or getting low profile players.
On the player side, younger and more promising players such as Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United) or Brian Rodríguez (Los Angeles FC) have joined the more experienced and renowned names of Gonzalo Higuain or Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, using the league as a springboard for their career towards Europe, something similar to what the leagues of Portugal, Belgium or the Netherlands do.
When it comes to the coaches, you have the likes of Gabriel Heinze and Matías Almeyda, who were two of the most recognized managers in the American continent or that of Raphael Wicky, champion with FC Basel in his home country of Switzerland. MLS mixes managers with experience in the Americas itself with American and European managers, bringing a wide variety of playing styles to the league and making it much more interesting to watch.
Another aspect of the MLS that is beginning to stand out has been the work in the training divisions as it is increasingly common to see American league players sign for major clubs in Europe. Possibly the most emblematic case in recent years is that of Alphonso Davies, who was formed by Vancouver Whitecaps FC and later signed by Bayern Munich, being one of the most promising players on the European scene.
Other cases that have not yet reached the level of Davies but may reach it are that of Brenden Aaronson of Philadelphia Union, who recently signed by RB Salzburg as a replacement for Dominik Szoboszlai or full-back Bryan Reynolds of FC Dallas, who is close to signing for Juventus.
MLS has improved a lot over the last years reaching a higher level and begins to be seen as something more than a golden retirement home.