Is the MLS a viable league for European players?
With the end of football coming to a close for another season, there are many rumors and much speculation on which players are going where and which teams will get new managers.
Some players are coming to the end of their careers and are hoping to get that last contract before they retire while others have found it hard to break into any of the European leagues. Currently there are 58 European players in Major League Soccer. Only a hard core fan would know most of these names, but there are a few here we will all know. Names like Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini and Kenny Miller are sprinkled throughout the MLS rosters. The biggest name to ever grace an American pitch is now playing for PSG. He, of course, is David Beckham.
Beckham joined the LA Galaxy in 2007 on a five year contract worth $6.5 million per year, which is still the richest contract ever written in the MLS to date. Beckham’s involvement in the MLS started a media circus which helped grow the MLS brand. But was this enough to get other players to sign Major League Soccer contracts? Is it now a viable league for quality European players or is it still a retirement league for those trying to score one last paycheck?
In order for the MLS to grow to world recognition, it must start luring quality players out of the ranks of Europe’s top leagues. The good news is, attendance each year continues to grow and the MLS is now ranked 7th worldwide in front of France and the Netherlands. The bad news is, Europe has this thing called the Champions League which is the biggest club tournament in the world not to mention the glory and prestige that comes with it.
The MLS is still several years away from hitting the big time, but with the addition of more European players, it has a fighting chance to be something really special one day.
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