Major League Soccer Ranking as 49th Strongest National League in the World Shows Improvement Still Needed
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) released its world report on national leagues across the world and named Major League Soccer as the 49th strongest league out of 125. L.E. Eisenmenger of the Examiner notes that the IFFHS has ranked the leagues since 1991 based on all national and (inter)continental results of their clubs. The ranking is considered a very sensitive and objective indicator.
At last year’s State of the League address MLS Commissioner Don Garber said one of the goals is to make MLS among the best leagues in the world. Those remarks were never quantified but continued to be a rallying cry among the executives. Recently the steps to reach the top have been to bring back regionally recognizable stars in an effort to show they will spend money. The debate over the league being transparent continues to rage on. However, it is being judged by the IFFHS on performance in the U.S. Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Spanish Primera División was the top league for the fourth year in a row in large part to Real Madrid and Barcelona. The Premier League came in second and scored better than the Primera in continental competitions. The Bundesliga came in third thanks to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The top five was rounded out by Italy and Brazil.
Mexico was the top CONCACAF league coming in at 15 in the rankings. Other leagues ahead of MLS include Cyprus, Tunisia, Moldova and Azerbaijan. Georgia, Northern Ireland and Slovenia are right behind MLS according to the IFFHS. Rwanda has the last place national league.
Improvements in the rankings would come from better performances in the CCL but often the coaches do not prioritize those matches. It is hard to say if anyone in MLS cares about this ranking system, but it does help solidify that the league still has a long way to go to reach its goals.
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