League Soccer is the top-flight professional
soccer league in the United States and was
founded in 1996, after the country hosted the
1994 FIFA World Cup. Entering its 12th season in
2007, MLS is experiencing a period of growth
highlighted by expansion, the construction of
soccer-specific stadiums, and new investors. The
League aims to have 16 teams by 2010.
Kansas City Wizards
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Toronto FC (Inaugural Season: 2007)
Los Angeles Galaxy
Real Salt Lake
The 2007 MLS regular season begins April 7
and ends Oct. 21. The MLS Cup Playoffs begin Oct
27. MLS Cup 2007, the League's championship
game, will be played November 18 at RFK Stadium,
home of D.C. United.
The 13 MLS teams will play 30 regular-season
games apiece and eight teams will advance to the
MLS Cup Playoffs. The top two teams in each
conference, plus four "wild cards" with the most
points after 30 games, regardless of conference,
will qualify. The team that finishes with the
most regular season points is awarded the
Supporters' Shield and earns an automatic bid to
the 2008 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
More than 30 million fans have attended
regular season games in MLS' 11-season history.
MLS regular season games averaged 15,504
fans per game during the regular season and
21,330 during the post-season in 2006.
In the 2006 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game,
the MLS All-Stars defeated two-time English
Premier League champion Chelsea, 1-0, at TOYOTA
PARK, home of the Chicago Fire.
This season seven of the 13 teams will play
in soccer-specific stadiums that were custom
built for MLS teams during the past six years.
(More on stadiums below).
- The 2006 U.S. World Cup 23-man roster
featured 11 MLS players (at the time of the
tournament) and 18 players with MLS
- In 2006, MLS had 92 players born outside
the United States representing 44 different
- A list of notable MLS players follows:
- David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy):
Current Real Madrid midfielder and
former England captain is scheduled to
join the Galaxy later this summer.
- Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy):
At 24, considered the best American
- Carlos Ruiz (FC Dallas): One of the
most prolific strikers in MLS history,
two of the Guatemalan's bicycle kick
goals were among the top five MLS goals
of the decade.
- Dwayne De Rosario (Houston Dynamo):
De Rosario, from Scarborough, Ontario,
is one of the League's most exciting and
dangerous playmakers. He has scored the
League's Sierra Mist Goal of the Year
- Taylor Twellman (New England
Revolution): The 2005 MLS MVP and
Budweiser Golden Boot winner. Twellman
has scored more MLS goals than any
American player during the last five
- Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake): Adu,
17, was recently traded to Real Salt
Lake where he will be the focal point of
the team's offense.
- Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo): One of
the best attacking players in the air in
MLS, the Hawaiian native was a member of
the 2006 U.S. World Cup team.
- Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards):
Veteran defender was a standout for the
U.S. World Cup team in Germany.
- Christian Gómez (D.C. United):
Clever Argentine midfielder was the 2006
MLS Honda MVP.
- Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards):
One of the most promising young forwards
in MLS and for the U.S. National Team.
MLS has secured long-term national
television agreements with ABC, ESPN, Univision,
HDNet, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en
All MLS teams have regional television
Every MLS match will be televised in 2007,
either nationally or regionally.
Major League Soccer is structured as a single,
limited liability company (single-entity). In
the single-entity business structure, club
operators own a financial stake in the league,
not just their individual team. The MLS
Phil Anschutz & the Anschutz
Entertainment Group (AEG):
Investor-operator of Chicago Fire, Houston
Dynamo, and Los Angeles Galaxy (other domestic
sports business ventures include the Staples
Center, the Home Depot Center, the NBA's Los
Angeles Lakers and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings).
The Hunt Family (Hunt Sports Group):
Investor-operator of FC Dallas and the Columbus
Crew (other sports business ventures include the
NFL's Kansas City Chiefs and NBA's Chicago
Red Bull Company Limited:
The Austrian company that produces the world's
leading energy drink owns Red Bull New York.
Other sports investments by Red Bull include a
NASCAR team, Red Bull Salzburg, extreme sports
and Formula One auto racing.
The Kraft Family (Kraft Soccer):
Investor-operator of the New England Revolution
(other sports business ventures include the
NFL's New England Patriots).
Kroenke Sports Enterprises:
Investor-operator of the Colorado Rapids (other
sports business ventures include the NBA's
Denver Nuggets, NHL's Colorado Avalanche and
NFL's St. Louis Rams).
Dave Checketts & Sports Capital
Partners: Investor-operator of Real
Salt Lake. Checketts is the former president of
the NHL's New York Rangers, the NBA's New York
Knicks and Madison Square Garden (other sports
business venture includes the NHL's St. Louis
Jorge Vergara & Antonio Cue:
Investor-operator of Club Deportivo Chivas USA
(other sports business ventures include soccer
club Chivas de Guadalajara in Mexico and soccer
club Saprissa in Costa Rica)
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment:
Investor-operator of Toronto FC (other sports
business ventures include the NHL's Toronto
Maple Leafs and the NBA's Toronto Raptors).
Investor-operator group of the Kansas City
Wizards consists of six Kansas City area
residents led by Cerner Corporation executives
Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig.
D.C. United Holdings:
Investor-Operator of D.C. United is led by
Victor MacFarlane and William H.C. ("Will")
Chang. D.C. United Holdings is a "majority
minority," in that a majority interest in the
team's operating rights are held by individuals
who are racial/ethnic minorities (other sports
business ventures include Chang's ownership
interest in Major League Baseball's San
Major League Soccer has elevated the sport's
stature in North America by building
soccer-specific stadiums. In 1999, the League
began moving aggressively to create custom-made
venues for its teams that generate the
atmosphere and intimacy the game deserves. These
facilities usually hold between 20,000 and
30,000 people and share design concepts with
some of the finest soccer venues in Europe. In
2007, seven of the League's 13 teams will
compete in stadiums built specifically for
professional soccer. In addition, Red Bull Park
will debut in 2008. The existing soccer stadiums
in MLS are:
Columbus Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio):
Opened in 1999 as the home of the Columbus Crew.
Built by the Hunt Family, this stadium has
hosted two All-Star Games, MLS Cup and many
important U.S. National Team games.
The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.):
Opened in 2003 as the "cathedral of American
soccer", The Home Depot Center is the luxurious
home of both the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas
Pizza Hut Park (Frisco, Texas): Opened in
August, 2005, the home of FC Dallas hosted MLS
Cup 2005 and MLS Cup 2006.
TOYOTA PARK (Bridgeview, Ill.): Located just
15 minutes south of downtown Chicago, the
handsome new park debuted in 2006 and hosted the
Sierra Mist All-Star Game.
BMO Field (Toronto, Canada): Toronto FC will
kick of their inaugural season in 2007 in this
new stadium. Their home opener is April 28
against the Kansas City Wizards.
Dick's Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City,
Colo.): The Colorado Rapids new stadium will
host the opening game of the MLS season on April
7 against D.C. United (on AB