Major League Soccer continues to expansed with the awarding of its 24 the franchise to Minnesota on Wednesday. The new Minnesota United will begin play in 2018 and will play in a new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Minneapolis. It becomes the 13th new team to join the North American league since 2005.
“We are proud to welcome Minnesota to Major League Soccer,” Garber said. “The ownership group’s commitment to soccer and the community, the area’s growing millennial population and the region’s rich tradition of supporting soccer at all levels in Minnesota were key indicators that this was the right market.”
Thirteen new teams in the last 10 years is a lot of American born soccer players, and I question whether the college program or academy program is strong enough to provide that many new payers without a noticeable decrease in quality. The challenge for MLS in growing the game domestically, is that fans can watch the best players in the world play in England, Spain and Italy ever weekend on TV. Those games offer a vivid comparison between Major League Soccer and the top leagues, and I question whether the talent pool is strong enough to supply all these new teams.
Already this season MLS have added Orlando and New York City, which meant that another 40+ American soccer players, who would not have had jobs before, have them. Atlanta and a Chivas replacement in Southern California, Los Angeles FC, are set for 2017 debuts with Minnesota to follow the next year.
Those 3 sides will require another 60+ American soccer players. Can MLS really add 100+ players without seeing a decrease in quality? I am not sure that the can.
And that is not counting the proposed Miami franchise that David Beckham is behind. The league awarded Beckham’s group a conditional team in Febraury 2014 requiring stadium financing and location be agreed upon between Beckham and city officials. But Beck’s has had two proposed stadiums rejected by Miami government leaders, leaving the project in limbo.
Beckham has focused up to now on building a soccer specific stadium in downtown Miami, but their latest pitch from the Miami group is a stadium near the home ballpark of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, which will require a shuttle from the Culmer Station to the stadium.