MLS: A European fan's summer football fix
With European football in hiatus until August, hungry football fans should watch Major League Soccer to get their football fix
Major League Soccer (MLS) is composed of three Canadian teams and 16 American teams.
The coverage of the MLS in England is minimal however; it is an option for fans of the sport across the world to appreciate live matches during the off-season in Europe.
One can argue that the league gained its roots during the time of Pele. The Brazilian striker joined the New York Cosmos during the 1975 season and helped in transforming soccer into a viable "American" sport next to the football, basketball and baseball leagues which were all very popular.
The New York Cosmos was a team of superstars; the likes of Italian striker Giorgio Chinaglia and the West German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer were a few more names that glorified the club.
MLS teams do not have the financial capability anymore to compete with European clubs to obtain these types of players anymore. In addition, the competitive leagues of England, Italy, Germany and Spain attract players to this elite stage. However, older-aged football sensations have paved the road for MLS in recent history, most recently David Beckham's spell in LA.
After making a name for himself during most of his career at Manchester United and Real Madrid, the Los Angeles Galaxy decided on a five-year contract with Beckham that paid off incredibly. Quoted from an interview with ESPN, he said: "I'm coming here not to be a superstar. I'm coming here to be part of the team... I'm coming here to make a difference. I'm coming here to play football... I'm not saying me coming over to the States is going to make soccer the biggest sport in America. That would be difficult to achieve."
This iconic player in 2007 rejuvenated the MLS like Pele once did decades before. The LA galaxy noticed immediate business improvements from sales on shirts, deals with sponsorships, and attendance at games.
After Beckham, other players followed. The likes of Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini, Alessandro Nesta and Tim Cahill have graced the MLS in recent years, and made an impact in the United States to emphasize the beautiful game.
The progress in the North American league is also evident through the players that move on and have success overseas. Clint Dempsey moved from the MLS in 2006 and is a goal scorer in England for Fulham and now Tottenham.
Michael Bradley's midfield role in Italy's Roma is solid as a rock. Brek Shea recently moved to Stoke City and Landon Donovan had been incredible to watch during loan spells at Everton FC.
Major League Soccer is slowly being considered both a feeder league for young talents and the welcoming league for aging superstars.
While it doesn't have any world-class player of the moment, names that everyone recognizes and will recognize in the future are playing right now in America.
So while you are craving some football action this summer, see if you can watch any MLS games.
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