Luke Stergiou

Photo Editor

With less than two weeks remaining and the 2019 Major League Soccer season fast approaching, teams have been busy scouting players and acquiring new talents to bolster the squad for the upcoming season. But what makes this season slightly different is the type of transfers happening within MLS and outside of North America.

For a long time, Major League Soccer has been regarded as a ‘retirement’ league and a league that has never been able to compete with the bigger european leagues. However, the league has been changing minds of fans within the past 5 years. With the United States Men’s National Team heroic run in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Major League Soccer has seen increased growth and love for the beautiful game in the U.S.

Over the years, legendary players like David Beckham, David Villa and Kaká have all come to North America to play in the MLS. These players have all helped to increase the international presence of the league, and with that has made MLS become more popular with not just international fans, but more importantly U.S. soccer fans. These big name players have also paved the way for other European and South American players to make the move to MLS and advance their career.

With this increased international attention, the league has started to be seen in a new light on the international stage. In this European January transfer window, big name clubs like Paris Saint Germain and Newcastle United made big money moves to bring MLS stars to Europe. Former Atlanta United star midfielder Miguel Almiron completed a move to Newcastle United, while D.C. United Star Luciano Acosta’s skills were acquired by French giants Paris Saint Germain. These two transfers proved to fans and the media that bigger leagues are starting to pay attention to MLS, showing that it’s not just a mediocre retirement league anymore.

Moreover, more MLS clubs have been busy in the international transfer market. The New England Revolution made a big money move to sign Spanish midfielder Carles Gil from Real Sociedad to a designated player contract. Orlando City SC completed a move for former Manchester United Star and Portuguese midfielder Nani, signing him to a designated player contract as well. The Philadelphia Union made headlines when the club signed Mexican International Marco Fabian from German Club Eintracht Frankfurt as a designated player.

All of these transfers show that Major League Soccer has made big strides in changing not only the perception of the league, but the quality of the league. With the 2019 MLS season vastly approaching and the addition of FC Cincinnati, this year looks to be one for the books in American soccer. Fans should expect to see record attendance and viewership of MLS games this year, and hopefully that number will keep increasing in the years to come.

Luke Stergiou can be contacted at

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