Saturday, August 17, 2019

MLS waiting for World Cup lift-off

Phil Tomlinson in General Soccer News 20 Apr 2009


An increasing number of English-based players are turning to the MLS as football continues to grow on the other side of the Atlantic.

The league, which started in 1996, is undoubtedly developing with more teams, a growth in the fan base and increasing sponsorship making it a more attractive proposition.

Southampton defender Kyle Davies and Crewe captain Julien Baudet are the latest additions to teams in the MLS, but with Freddie Ljungberg, Darren Huckerby, Bobby Convey, Donovan Ricketts and Ade Akinbiyi already enjoying life in the US, the league is certainly going places.

David Beckham’s arrival at the LA Galaxy was a massive lift and even though he’s temporarily jumped ship to Milan, the deal was massive.

But it’s safe to say the day that top Premier League stars will be tempted to play in the MLS still looks a long way away, however the progress is admirable.

With 15 clubs already established in the East and West Divisions, Philadelphia will join in 2010 and Vancouver and Portland will be added in 2011 which all point to a rapid growth in the sport.

The USA national side is also in good shape and they are top of the final hexagonal stage of World Cup qualifying, when the top three sides will make it to South Africa 2010 and the fourth-placed side will reach a play-off. Indeed, it may not be an unwise football bet to back this team for success in the near future.

The Americans, led by coach Bob Bradley, look to have a good blend of youth and experience and are captained by top scorer Landon Donovan.

A successful World Cup could be the key to lift off in the MLS – leading to increased funding and more English stars heading across the water.


Phil Tomlinson



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