Wiping The Slate Clean With Major League Soccer

Over the past few years, I’ve been a critic of Major League Soccer, but I believe much of my criticism has been misconstrued by soccer fans in the United States. It’s not that I want MLS to fail. Far from it. I would love to see the league continue to grow in this country, but any criticism of MLS is often misinterpreted as negativity or “an agenda” when it is in fact constructive criticism.

I’m here to start the 2014 MLS season with a clean slate, to take in the new season with an open mind and to give the league another chance. In the past 12 months, MLS have made a turning point in its 18-year history by being more aggressive in its attempts to sign star players (Dempsey, Bradley, Defoe) and expand the league (Orlando, New York, Miami). While the league still has difficult challenges ahead of it, it’s time for soccer fans to be more open about leagues around the world without being derogatory or dismissive just because they’re different. And that includes me (and, as a result, World Soccer Talk).

From 1998-2001, I was a Miami Fusion season ticket holder and Afusionado, part of the club’s supporters section (that’s me pictured above wearing the Fusion jersey). It was a team that I loved, and one that was such a huge part of my life. I proposed to my girlfriend (now wife) on the pitch at half-time in front of 11.000 cheering fans. I made so many wonderful friends, and had so many incredible memories. So when the team was contracted, without the fans or players even having a chance to say goodbye, it was like a bitter divorce. Worse, it was more like the sudden death of a close loved one. In hindsight, it was probably one of the reasons why I was harsh on MLS in later years, to tell the truth.

Since then, MLS has done a lot of things right and feels like a completely different league than it did 13 years ago. Plus, there’s the return of a MLS side to South Florida on the horizon, which gives me, my wife and my family of 4 children a lot of happiness to know that there’ll be a local top flight team near to me so that we can participate, too, in seeing MLS games in person, which makes such a huge difference in my interest in following the league.

In the coming days, weeks and months, you’ll see more MLS coverage on the site than in the past as well as a combination of coverage from all of the major soccer leagues from around the world. As the start of a new MLS season beckons and the World Cup is around the corner, hopefully you’ll join me in giving the league another chance (or getting even more involved than before if you’re a hardcore fan)!

32 thoughts on “Wiping The Slate Clean With Major League Soccer”

  1. Thanks for the article. If Americans don’t support a homegrown product from the start, it won’t grow at all.

    Will hopefully make it to the DC United game this weekend, weather permitting.

  2. Sorry, the vintage pic made me giggle and distracted me from the article.

    But I never followed MLS with much vigor, not until Beckham and the subsequent interest in Donovan (and now Dempsey/Bradley).

    So at the time this picture was taken, did you have any idea you would be running WST?

    1. I had no idea I’d be running World Soccer Talk. I was a massive soccer fan, for sure. But I was more into MLS than England’s top flight at the time.

  3. Great article Christopher. I can’t wait for the start of the season this weekend and to see more MLS articles on here.

        1. You ruined it with that “*want” correction. Now no one will take you seriously.

          Might as well take your ignorance to league websites and correct them.

      1. The website is called World Soccer Talk so expect to see variety of the game to be covered here, not just EPL. Nobody is forcing you to read any of the MLS articles, skip if that’s your prerogative. There are many readers who appreciate many different leagues in and out of Europe reported on.

        1. Right on the mark. I enjoy the widened scope of WST and some articles on MLS are simply a logical expansion. Everyone is free to skip any article that doesn’t appeal to them.

  4. Very good article. MLS is far from perfect but I love having a league here to support and follow after years of following only the EPL. Hope others come around too.

  5. My state doesn’t have an team in the area, so I can relate to your disappointment over losing the Fusion and loss of interest in the league. However, I’m glad you are softening your stance and giving them another chance. The league has had many flaws and lacks the quality of other top leagues. However, it’s our own and will only improve if we help support any part of it. Here’s to the new season.

    Also in case anyone is interested, for any Directv subscribers MLS Direct Kick has a free trial the first week of the season (3/8-3/15).

  6. We all want MLS to succeed. It will never be quite how we would like it to be but it is contributing to the growth of this sport in this country which is the bottom line. I really like seeing people get fired up about MLS on here. It shows they care. When people stop caring, that’s when MLS is in trouble.

  7. Hopefully one of your first MLS articles will be about the announcement of the new team in Atlanta.

    Any chance of covering the NASL? It’s growing rapidly, riding the coat tails of MLS.

    1. Great news on increased MLS coverage. MLS has had a great off season and 2014 should be in for its best year ever.

      It’s wonderful news that it’s only a matter of time before Atlanta joins the ranks of MLS cities and that so many others towns want into pro soccer on any level.

      While I am a Chicago Fire season ticket holder and MLS fan I would greatly appreciate NASL coverage and news. It’s exciting as a soccer fan to have more than one division in the US that merits attention.

      Having WST increase coverage of MLS and NASL is another step in the US becoming a soccer nation.

      1. Oh yeah I recall it but I was hoping we’d get it this season as well. I figure there are going to be a lot of new fans coming on board this year and going forward with the expansion to your neck of the woods and more importantly NYC.

        1. Possibly down the road, but there are so many MLS podcasts out there already.

          We do have something in the works that involves MLS, but I can’t talk about it at the moment. All will be revealed soon.

  8. Love the new direction of more MLS coverage. I like the author should not support MLS either I moved from Sacramento to Saraosta near Tampa in 2001 and then went to Miami for school and both teams in that area were contracted. The closet team to me is DC United 13 hours away by car.
    But I gave MLS a chance in 1998 when I started following DC United and I’ll have to go to some Orlando games next year because 3 hours is a lot closer than 13 hours.
    Yeah it was tough following MLS at first in 1998 since I had been watching Real Madrid and the UEFA Champions League since 1996. I have seen every champions league final since 1997 when Dortmund beat Juventus in an upset.
    Of course MLS was not going to be as good as the UEFA teams they had a 100 year head start in countries where soccer was the number 1 sport and not 5th or worse like it is here in America.
    And so I cut MLS some slack and to me it gets a little better every year.

  9. Good times I should hopefully get up to speed with MLS before I make my trip over.

    A site like WST backing MLS and the NASL can only help the sport grow UN the US.

  10. I would love to “wipe the clean slate” for MLS… But until the league games really mean something it just doesn’t warrant watching.. Everyone makes a playoff.. It’s the reason I can’t watch US sports

    Not worth my time and effort


    1. That is my biggest complaint. How can you have so many crap teams make the playoffs? It is ludicrous and one of the major reasons I pay NO attention to the NBA….or MLS. Why should I, when the regular season means absolutely nothing, other than seeding?

      However, I will make the effort to pay more attention to MLS this year.

  11. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that you will be providing more coverage of MLS. MLS is not perfect, far from it, but it is OUR league. It is perhaps ironic that some of the best players for the USMNT are MLS players.

  12. Christopher, can you create a private MLS Fantasy league in either MLS.com or ESPNFC.com and invite your readers?

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