On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, we find Major League Soccer (MLS). That is the highest football division in the U.S, which is overseen by the United States Soccer Federation. But despite popular belief, the top League in the U.S actually compiles with clubs both from the U.S and Canada. Effectively making it a cross-border collaboration. Although the main bulk does come from the U.S. In fact, at its current state, American MLS houses 23 clubs from the U.S while 3 clubs come from Canada. However, as the League is relatively new, American MLS is far from being in its final state. Plus, the way a season plays is not what European football fans know. Meaning, it’s more geared to the way any major League sports structures in the country. So, let’s check out how North America think a football season should look.

Quick history

The American MLS is a direct product of the 1994 World Cup. Though, before the American MLS there where actually professional football played in the U.S. And the League conducting the events went under the name Major League Professional Soccer. However, in February 1995 they made some changes, one of them being the name. Where the official date for the inaugurating season was 1996 in April with 10 clubs. That since has expanded to the 26 clubs for the 2020 season. By which will see some changes in the coming years. This is according to the roadmap the American MLS has made public. Although the number of fans showing up this day has increased, it has not always been the case. Mostly due to the removal of the trial to “Americanise” the sport. Where they originally had such things like a countdown clock and a shoot-outs structure.

How many teams include in the American MLS?

If the League keep on performing as it does today the plan is to extend it to 30 teams by 2022. But, as the American MLS has gone true some hardship during its course of development, the road to success has been somewhat of an upstream struggle. But, to make it easy to understand, we only going to list the key years of growth. So, 1996 to 1997 the League had 10 clubs. Then from 1998 to 2001, it increased to 12. Only to get decreased to 10 for season 2002 to 2004. Which got changed to 12 once more from 2005 to 2006. Then in-between the years 2007 to 2010 one team joint each year, bringing the total to 16. Followed by the rapid expansion from 2011 to 2020 to 26 clubs. By which will be 30 by 2022. Basically making it one of the largest in the world.

A season of American MLS

A season of the League stretches across a full year. In comparison to the European split year system. As such, a season of the League starts in March and find its conclusion in October, and the Supporter’s Shield awards according to point standing. That completes with the post-season MLS Cup championship game in November. Meaning that, to determine the winner a final game plays out. But what’s more, the League splits in 2 by its geographic location. To the American format, Western and Eastern Conference. Where the teams play each conference opponents 2 times, home and away. And one game against 10 of the opposite conference clubs. Plus, a break in midseason to host the all-star game. Basically, a showcase match to display the best players in the League. Also worth to keep in mind, the League is evolving, and structure changes are likely to happen.

Who owns the League?

The League as such is a single entity. Meaning its a limited liability company, or LLC for short. That tells us that each club is a shareholder of the American MLS as well as there own club. By which ultimately owns by private investors or sports business ventures. Let’s take the most successful club in the League as an example, LA Galaxy. That funds by and entertainment group. That also holds an interest in organisations like the Staples Center, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Kings to mention a

American MLS competition champions

When it comes to the American MLS, the division is slightly different in comparison to the European system. Where we need to add two nominators, the MLS Cup post-season champion. But also the regular-season Supporter’s Shield to determine an overall leader. And at no surprise, we find LA Galaxy with 9 combined wins. The MLS Cup 5 times, (2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014) and the Supporter’s Shield 4 times (1998, 2002, 2010, 2011). Coming in on the second place is D.C. United with it’s 8 total wins. Where the won both the MLS Cup and the Supporter’s Shield on 4 occasions.

Extraordinary moments in American MLS

2007 was a huge milestone year in the American MLS League when they welcomed the designated player rule, also known as the David Beckham rule. Which had one purpose, to be able to compete with the rest of the football world and attract the top segment of footballers to the U.S. Allowing each club to bypass the salary cap imposed by the United States Soccer Federation. As such, an extraordinary moment in the League is therefore when Beckham signed the 5-year contract in 2007 worth $250 Million (£192 M). Basically singled handed put the American MLS League on the map. Which paved the way for more football superstars like Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, and Zlatan Ibrahimović to look to the West and the relative new League.

Top goal scorers and record keepers in American MLS

Finding its way to the top 3 positions, we find an all American lineup. Where Chris Wondolowsk that currently has scored 159 times and are leading the pack. Second place is going to Landon Donovan with his 145 goals. Followed by Jeff Cunningham where he manages to connect 134 times successfully.

Live viewership and the home audience

Did you know that in its early days of the League, the games played on multi-purpose arenas? Yet, since the sport is getting good traction from fans, broadcasters and investors the work is in full swing to build football designated stadiums. And should we look at the current average of available seats it sums up to around 36,000. Plus, the previous season has found new broadcasters, that include some of the biggest names in the sports network. Where reports tell us that around 246,000 tunes in remotely across the U.S and world. Although this number is not including the pay-per-view options.

Can you place bets on American MLS?

Adding the American MLS to your bets grants you the opportunity to bet on football all year long. But, in the case of this League, you should do your homework before blindly placing a bet. As you have to remember, although its a professional League it’s still in its infancy compared to the Leagues we have in Europe. Saying that you will still find the complete odds offering when a season is in full swing.