What are three things you would do to improve the reputation of Major League Soccer?
The sport of football or soccer depending on who you ask is the most popular game in the world and to be fair it is one of the few sports that the United States of America doesn’t particularly dominate in. Even there domestic league known as MLS or Major League Soccer isn’t viewed as a top league around the world like the domestic leagues in Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, and American Football. While it has had a steady rate of improvement over the last couple of decades they are still far behind the top domestic leagues in the world.
Once again depending on who you ask there are several changes that could be made to the Major League Soccer structure that could make it a much more respected league on the world stage. One of those main issues is promotion and relegation which is something that the majority of the rest of the leagues in the world follow. As well as aligning their calendar to the international calendar so that all the domestic leagues are running at the same time and international breaks will be easier to sync up.
Three Quick Fixes For Major League Soccer
Promotion and Relegation
This will always be the main issue that most football fans have with Major League Soccer. It is the fact that they do not have a promotion and relegation system in place for lower division teams to fight for a spot in the top flight. Truthfully, and in my opinion, it is the best part of football as the passion behind these games for the fight for promotion makes the sport that much better. Certainly a lot better than having a league where the worst team gets zero punishment and just gets handed a number one draft pick.
While it may be a little bit more difficult for the United States to adapt to promotion in relegation format because of the size of the country, they could make it work if they wanted to. It would likely have to come on a regional level as he would have to sundown teams from the same sides of the country instead of the opposite to keep things balanced and keep travel at a minimum. It would instantly make Major League Soccer a lot more interesting when the last place teams are fighting a last gasp battle to stay up in the top flight instead of the best draft pick.
They could easily construct a promotion and relegation pyramid with the USL as they are constantly expanding to new cities. However, the one roadblock in the way is the Americanization of the game of football and the owners in Major League Soccer not wanting to risk losing money if they were to be relegated. Overall for the fans though it would create a much more pleasant viewing experience and make every single game mean that much more. However, the details of that are better saved for an article of its own.
Aligning the Calendar
This is usually the second biggest complaint that Major League Soccer receives and it is the fact that their domestic calendar is not in line with the rest of the world. Now whether you wanna blame that on the weather or other factors it is fair to say it would make things a lot easier if it was and making the switch would also give Major League Soccer another reason to be viewed as a more serious and competitive league.
Stop allowing it to become a “retirement home”
Now this one may be more of a personal pet peeve of mine than anything but I still feel like it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Over the years we have seen some of the world’s top stars make the jump to North America and Major League Soccer when they were in the twilight of their career.
Guys like David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Andrea Pirlo, Georgio Chiellini, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Gareth Bale, and soon-to-be Lionel Messi as well. While It may be good for the League from a marketing standpoint the fans in Europe view it as a retirement league because of this. As their top players who can no longer play at the top level come over here to dominate for another few years and extend their careers.
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