Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MLS: Year 16

MLS heads into 2011 season bullish over its future

Just nine years ago, MLS commissioner Don Garber made the difficult decision of eliminating two of the league’s 12 teams. Major League Soccer was on shaky ground, with the future of the six-year-old league looking very much in doubt.

Fast forward to today. MLS is set to begin its 16th season with 18 teams, two of which will be making their debuts in the Pacific Northwest. Where there was once just one soccer-specific stadium in MLS, now there are stadiums across the country and another will open in the Kansas City market this summer. ...

See the full story here, courtesy of Fox Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: An interesting article to be sure. I'll be honest with you, the first year the league came to be when I was working in it, I though, and actually said out loud to some, that I expected MLS to last 10 years tops and then collapse under its own financial weight. I am glad I was wrong.

While I believe THE professional and international game is still stagnating in the US, it is not without significant effort on the part of MLS and its owners to keep a professional league going for this amount of time. Previous to this was the NASL of 'ole which survived 17 years (source), a far cry from the other professional leagues of the modern day, such as the A-League, or WUSA.

Without these business leaders and owners, I would opine, we as referees would be ill equipped and likely not even considered for participating on the world's stage. I'll be one of the first to say that there are some facets of the business side of sport that are unseemly to me, but the bottom line is we could not be successful without these business aspects. We as referees need at the very least, to acknowledge that fact ... and to be successful at the professional level, embrace it.

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