Major League Soccer (MLS) began in 1993 and has become a major player in the United States’ sport makeup.
This is a league that in the beginning had a ridiculous hockey style penalty shootout, which the league eventually eliminated. The MLS has seen plenty of expansion of teams in the league, television rights, and importance. They have made many changes from the beginning of the league to what we see today.
With the MLS season coming to an end, it’s time for the league to look into changing the calendar to resemble the FIFA calendar and FIFA dates next season.
FIFA dates are set aside for international games, so it could be World Cup qualifier games or just friendly games. It allows teams to get those days off from their club. In the MLS, these dates are not acknowledged in the calendar so teams still have games on those days.
With the MLS deciding against the FIFA calendar, it hurts their teams and their ticket sales. How many fans are going to pay for tickets on those days when they know that one or more of the star players are off with their countries?
If you are a Galaxy fan, are you going to pay the full price of admission to see them play against Orlando City, New York FC, or another team when you know that Giovanni Dos Santos, Kaka, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Tim Howard, or others are not with their club but playing with their national team?
The other issue is teams are playing important games without their best players because of international duty.
With the MLS playoffs in full swing and with the knowledge that the league will have three or more expansion teams in the next three years, it’s time for the MLS president and owners to look at following the FIFA calendar.
By using the FIFA calendar, the MLS can guarantee that the best players will always be available for their clubs and country. This would be a huge step forward in allowing the MLS to compete with the other leagues in the continent and not just as a great place to get a final paycheck before a player hangs up their cleats for the final time.