Since many of our wonderful readers are apparently not interested in the European leagues (apologies if you truly are), this piece will be a switch to our growing American one — MLS.
Our league is actually improving by the season, as fans are becoming more and more interested in the game in these parts. With stars such as Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley returning in the midst of their prime to help the growth, this means that the league is actually going places. In fact, MLS commissioner Don Garber has claimed that he believes that the MLS will be a top league by 2020.
Honestly, that might be a bit of a stretch since the league is having difficulty in developing some brilliant talents. There are the likes of Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake attacking-midfielder) and DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders right-back), who both represented the U-20 US national team in the U-20 World Cup this past summer in Turkey. These guys proved that they have a brilliant future ahead of them. In fact, they are possible members of the World Cup roster for the senior tournament this upcoming summer in Brazil.
Speaking of those two teams, the former is the finalist of the MLS Cup match where they lost to the Sporting KC in a thrilling encounter in the finale back in December. The latter sometimes has the pleasure of playing in front of 55,000 of the most passionate fans in the country at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA. Basically, both teams have reasons to play hard every night.
The league is known to bring in aging stars who are well past their primes in Europe, mainly due to the fact that our league can not compete with the very best in Europe. That is not an accusation, it is a fact based on recent matches against European powerhouses.
The only players that make the big money are none other than the designated ones such as Bradley, Dempsey, Thierry Henry and another newcomer who will be playing for Toronto FC starting this March, Jermain Defoe. They will play to the best of their abilities because they make their hefty sum. Other players will play hard, but are definitely jealous of the guys who make more than this league is worth at the moment.
Regardless, this is a league that has young talent that are just as athletic and intelligent as players around the globe, but they are just now being trained by the very best available in the game. In fact, once they learn everything there is to know about the sport, they will be playing at the highest of levels, just like they do in Europe.
This is the year where the MLS becomes epic, because they have a returning star at the age of 26 who will be joined by a world class striker who has played with and against the very best from England. In addition to them, the rising stars and remaining ones alike will also play their part to finally make this a league that actually matters.