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Major League Soccer
Soccer
(MLS) is a men's professional soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer
Soccer
that represents the sport's highest level in both the United States
United States
and Canada.[2][3] MLS constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues of the United States
United States
and Canada.[4][5] The league comprises 23 teams—20 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada. The MLS regular season runs from March to October, with each team playing 34 games;[6][7] the team with the best record is awarded the Supporters' Shield. The postseason includes twelve teams competing in the MLS Cup
MLS Cup
Playoffs through November and December, culminating in the championship game the MLS Cup.[8] MLS teams also play in other domestic competitions against teams from other divisions in the U.S. Open Cup and in the Canadian Championship. MLS teams also compete against continental rivals in the CONCACAF
CONCACAF
Champions League.[9] Major League Soccer
Soccer
was founded in 1993 as part of the United States' successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup.[10] The first season took place in 1996 with ten teams.[11] MLS experienced financial and operational struggles in its first few years: The league lost millions of dollars, teams played in mostly empty American football
American football
stadiums, and two teams folded in 2002.[12] Since then, MLS has expanded to 23 teams, owners built soccer-specific stadiums, average MLS attendance exceeds that of the National Hockey League
National Hockey League
(NHL) and National Basketball Association (NBA), MLS passed the Designated Player Rule that allows teams to sign star players such as David Beckham, MLS secured national TV contracts, and the league is now profitable.[13] Instead of operating as an association of independently owned teams, MLS is a single entity in which each team is owned by the league's investors.[14] The investor-operators control their teams as owners control teams in other leagues, and are commonly (but inaccurately) referred to as the team's owners.[15] The league has a fixed membership, like most sports leagues in the United States
United States
and Canada, which makes it one of the world's few soccer leagues that does not use promotion and relegation, a practice that is uncommon in the two countries.[16] MLS headquarters is located in New York City.[17]

Contents

1 Competition format

1.1 Other competitions

2 Teams

2.1 Current teams 2.2 Future teams 2.3 Defunct teams 2.4 Timeline

3 History

3.1 Establishment 3.2 Resurgence 3.3 Arrival of Designated Players 3.4 2013–present

4 League championships 5 Organization

5.1 Ownership 5.2 League executives 5.3 Player acquisition and salaries 5.4 Youth development 5.5 Stadiums 5.6 Profitability and revenues 5.7 Rules and officials 5.8 Team names

6 Media coverage

6.1 United States 6.2 Canada 6.3 International 6.4 Video games

7 Player records

7.1 Player records (active)

8 MLS awards 9 See also 10 References 11 External links

Competition format See also: Supporters' Shield, MLS Cup, and MLS Cup
MLS Cup
Playoffs Major League Soccer's regular season runs from March to October. Teams are divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences. Teams play 34 games in an unbalanced schedule: 23 matches against teams within their conference, plus 11 matches against teams from the other conference.[6][18] Midway through the season, teams break for the annual All-Star Game, a friendly game between the league's finest players and a major club from a different league.[19] At the end of the regular season, the team with the highest point total is awarded the Supporters' Shield.[20] Unlike some soccer leagues around the world, but similar to other leagues in the Americas,[21] the MLS regular season is followed by the 12-team MLS Cup
MLS Cup
Playoffs in November, ending with the MLS Cup championship final in early December.[22] Although some commentators have argued that playoffs reduce the importance of the regular season,[23] Commissioner Don Garber
Don Garber
has explained "Our purpose is to have a valuable competition, and that includes having playoffs that are more meaningful."[24] Major League Soccer's spring-to-fall schedule results in scheduling conflicts with the FIFA calendar and with summertime international tournaments such as the World Cup and the Gold Cup,[25] causing several players to miss some MLS matches.[26] While MLS has looked into changing to a fall-to-spring format, there are no current plans to do so. If the league were to change its schedule, a substantial winter break would still be necessary due to teams being located in harsh winter climates.[27][28][29] It would also have to compete with the popularity and media presence of the National Football League (NFL) in the fall and winter as well as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League
National Hockey League
(NHL), which both run on fall-to-spring schedules.[29] Other competitions See also: MLS performance in the CONCACAF
CONCACAF
Champions League MLS teams also play in other competitions. Every year, up to five MLS teams play in the CONCACAF
CONCACAF
Champions League against other clubs from the CONCACAF
CONCACAF
region (Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean). Two U.S.-based MLS teams qualify based on MLS regular-season results: the winner of the Western conference and the winner of the Eastern conference. The third U.S. team to qualify is the winner of the MLS Cup. A fourth U.S.-based MLS team can qualify via the U.S. Open Cup,[30] where U.S. based teams compete against lower division U.S. clubs. If a team qualifies through multiple berths, or if any of the MLS berths are taken by a Canada-based MLS team, the berth is reallocated to the best U.S.-based team in the Supporters' Shield table that has otherwise failed to qualify. Canadian MLS clubs play against lower division Canadian clubs in the Canadian Championship
Canadian Championship
for the one Champions League spot allocated to Canada.[31] No MLS club has won the Champions League since it began its current format in 2008, with Mexican clubs dominating the competition, but MLS teams have twice reached the final: Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake
in 2011 and the Montreal Impact in 2015. Teams See also: Expansion of Major League Soccer, List of Major League Soccer
Soccer
coaches, and List of Major League Soccer
Soccer
stadiums

Revolution NYCFC Red Bulls Impact Union D.C. Orlando Toronto Rapids SKC Crew SC FC Dallas Dynamo Fire RSL Sounders FC Earthquakes LAFC Galaxy Whitecaps FC Timbers Minnesota Atlanta

MLS's 23 teams are divided between the Eastern and Western Conferences. Each club is allowed up to 28 players on its first team roster.[32] All 28 players are eligible for selection to each 18-player game-day squad during the regular season and playoffs. Since the 2005 season, MLS has added many new clubs. During this period of expansion, Los Angeles
Los Angeles
became the first two-team market, and the league pushed into Canada
Canada
in 2007.[33] The league expanded from 20 teams to 23 teams in 2018 with the addition of Los Angeles
Los Angeles
FC.[34] The league further plans to expand to 26 teams by the beginning of the 2020 season and to 28 teams at a later date. The next two expansion franchises are planned to be awarded during the second or third quarters of 2017 according to a December 15, 2016, announcement by MLS Commissioner Don Garber.[35] Several teams compete annually for secondary MLS rivalry cups that are typically contested by two teams, usually geographic rivals (e.g., Portland vs. Seattle
Seattle
vs. Vancouver).[36] Each cup is awarded to the team with the better regular-season record in games played between the two teams. The concept is comparable to minor trophies played for by American college football teams.[37] Beginning with the 2018 season, teams are aligned as follows:[38][needs update] Current teams

Team City Stadium Capacity Joined Head coach

Eastern Conference

Atlanta
Atlanta
United FC Atlanta, Georgia Mercedes-Benz Stadium1 42,5004 2017 Gerardo Martino

Chicago Fire Bridgeview, Illinois Toyota Park 20,000 1998 Veljko Paunović

Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew
SC Columbus, Ohio Mapfre Stadium 19,968 1996 Gregg Berhalter

D.C. United Washington, D.C. Audi Field 20,000 1996 Ben Olsen

Montreal
Montreal
Impact Montreal, Quebec Saputo Stadium 20,801 2012 Rémi Garde

New England
England
Revolution Foxborough, Massachusetts Gillette Stadium1 2 20,0004 1996 Brad Friedel

New York City
New York City
FC New York City, New York Yankee Stadium1 2 30,3214 2015 Patrick Vieira

New York Red Bulls Harrison, New Jersey Red Bull
Red Bull
Arena 25,000 1996 Jesse Marsch

Orlando City SC Orlando, Florida Orlando City Stadium 25,500 2015 Jason Kreis

Philadelphia Union Chester, Pennsylvania Talen Energy Stadium 18,500 2010 Jim Curtin

Toronto
Toronto
FC Toronto, Ontario BMO Field3 30,991 2007 Greg Vanney

Western Conference

Colorado Rapids Commerce City, Colorado Dick's Sporting Goods Park 18,061 1996 Anthony Hudson

FC Dallas Frisco, Texas Toyota Stadium 20,500 1996 Óscar Pareja

Houston
Houston
Dynamo Houston, Texas BBVA Compass Stadium 22,039 2006 Wilmer Cabrera

LA Galaxy Carson, California StubHub Center3 27,000 1996 Sigi Schmid

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
FC Los Angeles, California Banc of California Stadium 22,000 2018 Bob Bradley

Minnesota United FC Minneapolis, Minnesota TCF Bank Stadium1 2 50,805 2017 Adrian Heath

Portland Timbers Portland, Oregon Providence Park 21,144 2011 Giovanni Savarese

Real Salt Lake Sandy, Utah Rio Tinto Stadium 20,213 2005 Mike Petke

San Jose Earthquakes San Jose, California Avaya Stadium 18,000 1996 Mikael Stahre

Seattle
Seattle
Sounders FC Seattle, Washington CenturyLink Field1 39,4194 2009 Brian Schmetzer

Sporting Kansas City Kansas City, Kansas Children's Mercy Park 18,467 1996 Peter Vermes

Vancouver
Vancouver
Whitecaps FC Vancouver, British Columbia BC Place1 22,1204 2011 Carl Robinson

Future teams

Future teams

Team City Stadium Capacity Joining League

Miami Miami, Florida Miami
Miami
MLS stadium 25,000 2020[39]

Nashville Nashville, Tennessee Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium 27,500 2019 or 2020

Defunct teams

Defunct teams

Team City Stadium Years active

Chivas USA Carson, California StubHub Center 2005–2014

Miami
Miami
Fusion Fort Lauderdale, Florida Lockhart Stadium 1998–2001

Tampa Bay Mutiny Tampa, Florida Raymond James Stadium1 1996–2001

Shared facility; not a soccer-specific stadium Team plans to move into a soccer-specific stadium Shared facility; is a soccer-specific stadium Stadium capacity can be increased

Timeline

League member Former member Other leagues History Main article: History of Major League Soccer See also: Soccer in Canada
Soccer in Canada
and Soccer
Soccer
in the United States Major League Soccer
Soccer
is the most recent of a series of men's premier professional national soccer leagues established in the United States and Canada. The predecessor of MLS was the North American Soccer League (NASL), which played from 1968 until 1984.[40] Establishment In 1988, in exchange for FIFA awarding the right to host the 1994 World Cup, U.S. Soccer
Soccer
promised to establish a Division 1 professional soccer league.[41] In 1993, U.S. Soccer
Soccer
selected Major League Professional Soccer
Soccer
(the precursor to MLS) as the exclusive Division 1 professional soccer league.[41] Major League Soccer
Soccer
was officially formed in February 1995 as a limited liability company.[41] MLS began play in 1996 with ten teams. The first game was held on April 6, 1996, as the San Jose Clash
San Jose Clash
defeated D.C. United
D.C. United
before 31,000 fans at Spartan Stadium in San Jose in a game broadcast on ESPN.[42] The league had generated some buzz by managing to lure some marquee players from the 1994 World Cup to play in MLS—including U.S. stars such as Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola
Tony Meola
and Eric Wynalda, and foreign players such as Mexico's Jorge Campos and Colombia's Carlos Valderrama.[43] D.C. United
D.C. United
won the MLS Cup
MLS Cup
in three of the league's first four seasons.[44] The league added its first two expansion teams in 1998—the Miami
Miami
Fusion and the Chicago Fire; the Chicago Fire won its first title in its inaugural season.[45] After its first season, MLS suffered from a decline in attendance.[46] The league's low attendance was all the more apparent in light of the fact that eight of the original ten teams played in large American football stadiums.[45] One aspect that had alienated fans was that MLS experimented with rules deviations in its early years in an attempt to "Americanize" the sport. The league implemented the use of shootouts to resolve tie games. MLS also used a countdown clock and halves ended when the clock reached 0:00. The league realized that the rule changes had alienated some traditional soccer fans while failing to draw new American sports fans, and the shootout and countdown clock were eliminated after the 1999 season.[47] The league's quality was cast into doubt when the U.S. men's national team, which was made up largely of MLS players, finished in last place at the 1998 World Cup.[45] Major League Soccer
Soccer
lost an estimated $250 million during its first five years, and more than $350 million between its founding and 2004.[48][49][50][51] The league's financial problems led to Commissioner Doug Logan being replaced by Don Garber, a former NFL executive, in August 1999.[52] MLS announced in January 2002 that it had decided to contract the Tampa Bay Mutiny
Tampa Bay Mutiny
and Miami
Miami
Fusion, leaving the league with ten teams.[53] Despite the financial problems, though, MLS did have some accomplishments that would set the stage for the league's resurgence. Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew
Stadium was built in 1999, becoming MLS's first soccer-specific stadium.[54] This began a trend among MLS teams to construct their own venues instead of leasing American football stadiums.[55] In 2000, the league won an antitrust lawsuit, Fraser v. Major League Soccer, that the players had filed in 1996. The court ruled that MLS's policy of centrally contracting players and limiting player salaries through a salary cap and other restrictions were a legal method for the league to maintain solvency and competitive parity.[56] Resurgence The 2002 FIFA World Cup, in which the United States
United States
unexpectedly made the quarterfinals, coincided with a resurgence in American soccer and MLS.[36] MLS Cup
MLS Cup
2002 drew 61,316 spectators to Gillette Stadium, the largest attendance in an MLS Cup
MLS Cup
final.[57] MLS limited teams to three substitutions per game in 2003, and adopted International Football Association Board (IFAB) rules in 2005.[58] MLS underwent a transition in the years leading up to the 2006 World Cup. After marketing itself on the talents of American players, the league lost some of its homegrown stars to prominent European leagues. For example, Tim Howard
Tim Howard
was transferred to Manchester United for $4 million in one of the most lucrative contract deals in league history.[59][60] Many more American players did make an impact in MLS. In 2005, Jason Kreis
Jason Kreis
became the first player to score 100 career MLS goals.[61] The league's financial stabilization plan included teams moving out of large American football
American football
stadiums and into soccer-specific stadiums.[53] From 2003 to 2008, the league oversaw the construction of six additional soccer-specific stadiums, largely funded by owners such as Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
and Phil Anschutz, so that by the end of 2008, a majority of teams were now in soccer-specific stadiums.[45] It was also in this era that MLS expanded for the first time since 1998. Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake
and Chivas USA
Chivas USA
began play in 2005, with Chivas USA becoming the second club in Los Angeles.[62] By 2006 the San Jose Earthquakes owners, players and a few coaches moved to Texas to become the expansion Houston
Houston
Dynamo, after failing to build a stadium in San Jose. The Dynamo became an expansion team, leaving their history behind for a new San Jose ownership group that formed in 2007.[63] Arrival of Designated Players

The 2010 season also brought the opening of the New York Red Bulls' soccer-specific stadium, Red Bull
Red Bull
Arena.

In 2007 the league expanded beyond the United States' borders into Canada
Canada
with the Toronto FC
Toronto FC
expansion team.[64] Major League Soccer took steps to further raise the level of play by adopting the Designated Player Rule, which helped bring international stars into the league.[65] The 2007 season witnessed the MLS debut of David Beckham. Beckham's signing had been seen as a coup for American soccer, and was made possible by the Designated Player Rule. Players such as Cuauhtémoc Blanco
Cuauhtémoc Blanco
(Chicago Fire) and Juan Pablo Ángel
Juan Pablo Ángel
(New York Red Bulls), are some of the first Designated Players who made major contributions to their clubs.[66] The departures of Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, coupled with the return of former U.S. national team stars Claudio Reyna
Claudio Reyna
and Brian McBride, highlighted the exchange of top prospects to Europe for experienced veterans to MLS.[67] By 2008, San Jose had returned to the league under new ownership, and in 2009, the expansion side Seattle Sounders FC began play in MLS.[64] The 2010 season ushered in an expansion franchise in the Philadelphia Union and their new PPL Park
PPL Park
stadium.[64] The 2010 season also brought the opening of the New York Red Bulls' soccer-specific stadium, Red Bull Arena, and the debut of French striker Thierry Henry.[68] The 2011 season brought further expansion with the addition of the Vancouver
Vancouver
Whitecaps FC, the second Canadian MLS franchise, and the Portland Timbers.[69] Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake
reached the finals of the 2010–11 CONCACAF
CONCACAF
Champions League.[70] During the 2011 season, the Galaxy signed another international star in Republic of Ireland all-time leading goalscorer Robbie Keane.[71] MLS drew an average attendance of 17,872 in 2011, higher than the average attendances of the NBA and NHL.[72] In 2012, the Montreal Impact
Montreal Impact
became the league's 19th franchise and the third in Canada, and made their home debut in front of a crowd of 58,912,[73] while the New York Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls
added Australian all-time leading goalscorer Tim Cahill. 2013–present In 2013, MLS introduced New York City
New York City
FC[74] as its 20th team, and Orlando City Soccer
Soccer
Club[75] as its 21st team, both of which would begin playing in 2015. In 2013, the league implemented its "Core Players" initiative, allowing teams to retain key players using retention funds instead of losing the players to foreign leagues.[76] Among the first high-profile players re-signed in 2013 using retention funds were U.S. national team regulars Graham Zusi
Graham Zusi
and Matt Besler. Beginning in summer of 2013 and continuing in the run up to the 2014 World Cup, MLS began signing U.S. stars based abroad, including Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, and Michael Bradley from Europe; and DaMarcus Beasley from the Liga MX.[77] By the 2014 season, fifteen of the nineteen MLS head coaches had previously played in MLS.[78] By 2013, the league's popularity had increased to the point where MLS was as popular as Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
among 12- to 17-year-olds, as reported by the 2013 Luker on Trends ESPN
ESPN
poll, having jumped in popularity since the 2010 World Cup.[79][80] In 2014, the league announced Atlanta United FC
Atlanta United FC
as the 22nd team to start playing in 2017.[81] Even though New York City
New York City
FC and Orlando City were not set to begin play until 2015, each team made headlines during the summer 2014 transfer window by announcing their first Designated Players – Spain's leading scorer David Villa
David Villa
and Chelsea's leading scorer Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard
to New York, and Ballon d'Or winner Kaká
Kaká
to Orlando.[82] The 2014 World Cup featured 21 MLS players on World Cup rosters and a record 11 MLS players playing for foreign teams – including players from traditional powerhouses Brazil (Júlio César) and Spain
Spain
(David Villa); in the U.S. v. Germany match the U.S. fielded a team with seven MLS starters.[83] On September 18, 2014, MLS unveiled their new logo as part of the "MLS Next" branding initiative. In addition to the new crest logo, MLS teams display versions in their own colors that are displayed on their jerseys. Chivas USA
Chivas USA
folded following the 2014 season, while New York City FC and Orlando City SC
Orlando City SC
joined the league in 2015 as the 19th and 20th teams.[84] Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City
and the Houston Dynamo
Houston Dynamo
moved from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference in 2015 to make two 10-team conferences.[38] In early 2015, the league announced that two teams— Los Angeles
Los Angeles
FC and Minnesota United—would join MLS in either 2017 or 2018.[34] The 20th season of MLS saw the arrivals of several players who have starred at the highest levels of European club soccer and in international soccer: Giovanni Dos Santos, Kaká, Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba, David Villa, and Sebastian Giovinco.[85] On December 6, 2015, MLS announced its intent to expand to 28 teams.[86] MLS confirmed in August 2016 that Minnesota United would begin play in 2017 along with Atlanta
Atlanta
United FC.[87] In April 2016, the league's commissioner Don Garber
Don Garber
reiterated the intention of the league to expand to 28 teams, with the next round of expansion "likely happening in 2020".[88][89] In December 2016, he updated the expansion plans stating that the league will look to approve the 25th and 26th teams in 2017 and to start play in 2020.[35] In January 2017, the league received bids from 12 ownership groups.[90] In July 2017, it was reported that Major League Soccer
Soccer
had rejected a $4 billion offer by MP & Silva to acquire all television rights to the league for 10 years following the conclusion of its current contracts with Fox, ESPN, and Univision. While it represents a substantial increase over the current agreements, MP & Silva insisted that the deal would be conditional on Major League Soccer adopting a promotion and relegation system similar to other international leagues. Although the league stated that it rejected the offer due to the exclusive periods that the current rightsholders have to negotiate extensions to their contracts, it was pointed out by the media that Major League Soccer
Soccer
had long-opposed the adoption of promotion and relegation, continuing to utilize the fixed, franchise-based model used in other U.S. sports leagues.[91][92] Furthermore, MP & Silva founder Riccardo Silva
Riccardo Silva
appeared to have a conflict of interest because he also owned Miami
Miami
FC of the NASL, which stood to benefit from such a promotion and relegation system.[92] MLS announced, on December 20, 2017, that it would be awarding an expansion franchise to Nashville, who would play in a yet-to-be-built soccer-specific stadium, Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium, and are expected to join the MLS in 2019 or 2020.[93] On January 29, 2018, MLS awarded Miami
Miami
an expansion team, lead by David Beckham. The Miami MLS team will start playing in the 2020 season. Their proposed stadium would seat 25,000. The location of the stadium has not been finalized yet. It would open in 2021, which would mean the Miami
Miami
team would have to play in a temporary venue for the 2020 season.[94] League championships See also: List of American and Canadian soccer champions As of the end of the 2017 season, 25 different clubs have competed in the league, with 12 having won at least one MLS Cup, and 12 winning at least one Supporters' Shield.[95] Seven times both trophies have been won by the same club in the same year (two clubs have done it twice).[96] MLS Cup
MLS Cup
titles and Supporters' Shield
Supporters' Shield
Wins

Team MLS Cups Year(s) won Supporters' Shields Year(s) won MLS Seasons

LA Galaxy 5 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2014 4 1998, 2002, 2010, 2011 22

D.C. United 4 1996, 1997, 1999, 2004 4 1997, 1999, 2006, 2007 22

San Jose Earthquakes 2 2001, 2003 2 2005, 2012 20

Sporting Kansas City 2 2000, 2013 1 2000 22

Houston
Houston
Dynamo 2 2006, 2007

– 12

Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew
SC 1 2008 3 2004, 2008, 2009 22

Chicago Fire 1 1998 1 2003 20

Seattle
Seattle
Sounders FC 1 2016 1 2014 9

Toronto
Toronto
FC 1 2017 1 2017 11

Real Salt Lake 1 2009

– 13

Colorado Rapids 1 2010

– 22

Portland Timbers 1 2015

– 7

New York Red Bulls

– 2 2013, 2015 22

Tampa Bay Mutiny*

– 1 1996 6*

Miami
Miami
Fusion*

– 1 2001 4*

FC Dallas

– 1 2016 22

*Franchise folded after completion of the 2001 season

Organization Ownership See also: Major League Soccer
Soccer
owners Major League Soccer
Soccer
operates under a single-entity structure in which teams and player contracts are centrally owned by the league.[3][15][97] Each team has an investor-operator that is a shareholder in the league.[98] In order to control costs, MLS shares revenues and holds players contracts instead of players contracting with individual teams. In Fraser v. Major League Soccer, a lawsuit filed in 1996 and decided in 2002, the league won a legal battle with its players in which the court ruled that MLS was a single entity that can lawfully centrally contract for player services.[3] The court also ruled that even absent their collective bargaining agreement, players could opt to play in other leagues if they were unsatisfied.[3] Having multiple clubs operated by a single investor was a necessity in the league's first ten years.[99] At one time Phil Anschutz's AEG operated six MLS franchises and Lamar Hunt's Hunt Sports three franchises. In order to attract additional investors, in 2002 the league announced changes to the operating agreement between the league and its teams to improve team revenues and increase the incentives to be an individual club operator.[100] These changes included granting operators the rights to a certain number of players they develop through their club's academy system each year, sharing the profits of Soccer
Soccer
United Marketing, and being able to sell individual club jersey sponsorships.[100] As MLS appeared to be on the brink of overall profitability in 2006 and developed significant expansion plans, MLS announced that it wanted each club to have a distinct operator.[101] The league has attracted new investors that have injected more money into the league.[102] Examples include Red Bull's purchase of the MetroStars from AEG in 2006 for over $100 million.[99][103] For the 2014 season, the league assumed control of the former Chivas USA
Chivas USA
club, which had suffered from mismanagement and poor financial results under its individual operator relationship.[104][105] The league eventually dissolved the team,[106] in favor of awarding rights to a second soccer club in the Los Angeles
Los Angeles
area to a new investor group on October 30, 2014.[107] The league now has 23 investor-operators for its 23 clubs. Since December 2015, when AEG sold its remaining 50% interest in the Houston Dynamo, the former multiple-team operators AEG and Hunt Sports, with the LA Galaxy
LA Galaxy
and FC Dallas
FC Dallas
respectively, now only control one franchise.[108][109] League executives Don Garber
Don Garber
has been the commissioner of Major League Soccer
Soccer
since 1999, serving as the league's chief executive. The league's first commissioner was Doug Logan, who served in the role from 1995 to 1999.[110][111] Mark Abbott, a former MLS business partner, has served as the league's President and Deputy Commissioner since 2006.[112] Player acquisition and salaries

David Beckham
David Beckham
was the league's first Designated Player in 2007.

The average salary for MLS players is $316,777,[113] lower than the average salaries in England's second-tier Football League Championship ($420,000 in 2015),[114] Holland's Eredivisie
Eredivisie
($445,000),[115] or Mexico's Liga MX
Liga MX
($418,000 in 2015).[116] The league's minimum player salary increased in 2017 to $65,000 for most players, and roster players #25–28 saw their minimum salary increased to $53,000.[117][118] MLS salaries are limited by a salary cap, which MLS has had in place since the league's inception in 1996. The purpose of the salary cap is to prevent the team's owners from unsustainable spending on player salaries and to prevent a competitive imbalance among teams.[41] The salary cap survived a legal challenge by the players in the Fraser v. Major League Soccer
Soccer
lawsuit. The 2017 salary cap increased to $3.845 million per team.[117][118] Teams may augment their squads by signing players from other leagues. MLS has two transfer windows—the primary pre-season transfer window lasts three months from mid February until mid May, and the secondary mid season transfer window runs one month from early July to early August.[119] When an MLS club sells one of its players overseas, the club and the league split the transfer revenues, with the club retaining from 33% to 75% depending on the player's status and tenure.[120] MLS teams have a limited number of international roster slots that they can use to sign non-domestic players. However MLS teams regularly obtain green cards for their non-domestic players to qualify them for domestic status and free up international roster slots.[121] In 2015, 49% of MLS players were born outside of the U.S. and Canada, with players from 58 countries represented.[122][123] MLS has also introduced various initiatives and rules intended to improve quality of players while still maintaining the salary cap. Rules concerning Designated Players and allocation money allow for additional wage spending that is exempt from the salary cap. These initiatives have brought about an increase in on-field competition.[124] The designated player (DP) rule allows teams to sign a limited number of players whose salary exceeds the maximum cap, each DP player only counts as $480,625 (the maximum non-DP salary) against the cap in 2017. Instituted in 2007, England's David Beckham
David Beckham
was the first signing under the DP rule.[65] The DP rule has led to large income inequality in MLS with top DPs earning as much as 180 times more than a player earning the league minimum.[125] In the 2013 season 21% of the league's wage spending went to just 5 players, this stretched to 29% on the top 6 players in the 2014 season.[126][127] The league's "Core Players" initiative allows teams to re-sign players using retention funds that do not count against the salary cap.[76] Retention funds were implemented in 2013 as a mechanism for MLS to retain key players; among the first high-profile players re-signed using retention funds were U.S. national team regulars Graham Zusi
Graham Zusi
and Matt Besler.[76] MLS teams can also obtain allocation money, which is money that the team can use on player salaries that does not count against the cap, and teams can earn allocation money in several ways, such as from the transfer fees earned by selling players to teams in other leagues.[128] MLS teams can also use Targeted Allocation Money (often referred to as TAM), an initiative announced in 2015. Teams can use TAM funds to attract high-profile players by "buying down" contracts of players to below the Designated Player level.[129] High-profile players for which TAM funds were used include Omar Gonzalez. Youth development MLS has introduced various initiatives and rules intended to develop young players. Rules concerning Generation Adidas players and home grown players provide incentives for clubs to develop and retain young players.[124] MLS has required all of its teams to operate youth development programs since 2008.[130] MLS roster rules allow teams to sign an unlimited number players straight from their academies and bypassing the draft process.[131] There is also supplementary salary budget made by MLS only for homegrown players that are registered using senior roster slots called homegrown player funds.[132] One of the most prominent and lucrative examples of success in "home-grown" development was Jozy Altidore, who rose to prominence as a teenager in MLS before his record transfer fee $10 million move to Villarreal in Spain
Spain
in 2008.[133] The various MLS teams' development academies play matches in a U.S. Soccer
Soccer
developmental league against youth academies from other leagues such as the North American Soccer
Soccer
League (NASL), which had been a Division II league prior to 2018, and USL Pro, originally a Division III league but now the Division II United Soccer
Soccer
League.[134] The league operates a Generation Adidas program, which is a joint venture between MLS and U.S. Soccer
Soccer
that encourages young American players to enter MLS.[135] The Generation Adidas program has been in place since 1997, and has introduced players such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard
Tim Howard
and Michael Bradley into MLS. Players under the Home Grown Player rule are signed to Generation Adidas contracts,[119] all players on Generation Adidas contracts are "off budget players" and their salaries do not count against the cap. MLS formerly operated a reserve league that gave playing time to players who were not starters for their MLS teams. The Reserve League was formed in 2005, and operated through 2014 (with the exception of the 2009 & 2010 seasons).[136] MLS began integrating its Reserve League with the league then known as USL Pro in 2013,[137] and after the 2014 season folded the Reserve League, with MLS now requiring all teams to either affiliate with a USL team or field their own reserve side in that league. Stadiums

Mapfre Stadium, MLS' first soccer-specific stadium

See also: Soccer-specific stadium
Soccer-specific stadium
and List of Major League Soccer stadiums Since 1999, the league has overseen the construction of twelve stadiums specifically designed for soccer. The development of soccer-specific stadiums owned by the teams has generated a better gameday experience for the fans.[138] The soccer-specific stadiums have yielded positive financial results as teams were no longer required to pay to rent out facilities and gained control over revenue streams such as concessions, parking, naming rights, and the ability to host non MLS events.[105][138] Several teams have doubled their season-tickets following the team's move into a soccer-specific stadium.[139] The establishment of soccer-specific stadiums is considered the key to the league and the ability of teams to turn a profit.[140] In 2006, Tim Leiweke, then CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, described the proliferation of soccer-specific stadiums as the turning point for MLS.[140] Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew
owner Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
started this trend in 1999 by constructing Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew
Stadium, now known as Mapfre Stadium, as MLS's first soccer-specific stadium.[54] The Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Galaxy followed four years later with the opening of The Home Depot Center, now StubHub Center, in 2003.[141] FC Dallas
FC Dallas
opened Pizza Hut Park, now Toyota Stadium, in 2005, and the Chicago Fire began playing their home games in Toyota Park
Toyota Park
in 2006. The 2007 season brought the opening of Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Dick's Sporting Goods Park
for the Colorado Rapids
Colorado Rapids
and BMO Field
BMO Field
for Toronto
Toronto
FC.[142] Near the end of the 2008 season, Rio Tinto Stadium
Rio Tinto Stadium
became the home of Real Salt Lake, which meant that for the first time in MLS history a majority of MLS's teams (8 out of 14) played in soccer-specific stadiums.[143] Red Bull
Red Bull
Arena, the new home of the New York Red Bulls opened for the start of the 2010 season,[144] and the Philadelphia Union opened PPL Park, since renamed Talen Energy Stadium, in June 2010, midway through their inaugural season.[145] The following season, in 2011, the Portland Timbers
Portland Timbers
made their MLS debut in a newly renovated Jeld-Wen Field, now renamed Providence Park, which was originally a multi-purpose venue but turned into a soccer-specific facility.[146] Also in 2011, Sporting Kansas City moved to new Livestrong Sporting Park, now Children's Mercy Park.[147] The Houston Dynamo
Houston Dynamo
relocated to their new home at BBVA Compass Stadium in 2012.[144] In the same year, the Montreal Impact
Montreal Impact
joined the league in an expanded Stade Saputo, which reopened in June 2012, when renovations pushed the seating capacity to over 20,000. The Impact has used Olympic Stadium for early season matches and for games that require a larger capacity.[148] The San Jose Earthquakes, who had played at Buck Shaw Stadium from 2008 until 2014, opened their new Avaya Stadium
Avaya Stadium
before the 2015 season.[149] The Orlando City SC expansion team intended to begin constructing Orlando City Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium, in 2014 to be completed in 2015.[150] Delays caused by changes to the stadium plans pushed back the new venue's opening, first to late in the 2016 season and finally to the start of the 2017 season.[151] Orlando City played at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, now Camping World Stadium, while awaiting the construction of their new venue through the 2016 season. Their new venue, Orlando City Stadium, hosted its first MLS match on March 5, 2017 against New York City FC.

CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle
Seattle
Sounders FC

The development of additional MLS stadiums is in progress. D.C. United plays home games at a former NFL and Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
venue, RFK Stadium; in 2013, D.C. United
D.C. United
announced the signing of a public-private partnership term sheet to build a new soccer stadium in Washington, D.C., and a final deal was reached in late 2014. After 21 years of playing at RFK Stadium, D.C. United
D.C. United
finally broke ground on their new stadium, Audi Field, in late February 2017 to be completed sometime during the 2018 MLS season.[152] Two teams have announced their desire to build a soccer-specific stadium, although these teams have not finalized the stadium site and received all necessary government approvals. New York City
New York City
FC play home games at Yankee Stadium, a Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
venue, although they intend to move into a soccer-specific stadium in the future. The New England Revolution
New England Revolution
play home games at a National Football League venue, Gillette Stadium, but are currently in discussion with the City of Boston
Boston
regarding a potential soccer-specific stadium in South Boston.[153] Several remaining clubs play in stadiums not originally built for MLS and have not announced plans to move. The Seattle Sounders FC play at CenturyLink Field, a dual-purpose facility used for both American football and soccer. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
joined the league with Portland in 2011 and temporarily held matches at Empire Field
Empire Field
before moving into the refurbished BC Place
BC Place
in October 2011,[154] a retractable-roof stadium that hosts Canadian football
Canadian football
as well as soccer.[155] Of the three teams making their MLS debuts in 2017 and 2018, one is building a soccer-specific stadium, a second is playing in a shared football stadium, and the last will open a soccer-specific stadium for its inaugural 2018 season. Minnesota United FC, which debuted in 2017, is building Allianz Field
Allianz Field
in St. Paul and plans to open it in 2019.[156][157] Until that time, the team is playing in Minneapolis
Minneapolis
at TCF Bank Stadium, home to University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
football.[158] Atlanta
Atlanta
United, which also began play in 2017, shares ownership with the NFL's Atlanta
Atlanta
Falcons; the two teams have shared the retractable-roof Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
since the beginning of the 2017 NFL season. Due to construction delays, Atlanta
Atlanta
United began its inaugural season at another college football facility, namely Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium.[159] Los Angeles
Los Angeles
FC, entering in 2018, is currently building Banc of California Stadium
Banc of California Stadium
on the former site of the Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Sports Arena and will open it in late April of its inaugural season.[160] Profitability and revenues

Average franchise valuations

Year Value (in millions)

2008 $37

2013 $103

2015 $157

2016 $185

2017 $223

See also: Major League Soccer
Soccer
defunct clubs and List of professional sports leagues by revenue Major League Soccer
Soccer
began to demonstrate positive signs of long-term profitability as early as 2004 with the single-entity ownership structure, salary cap, and the media and marketing umbrella Soccer United Marketing (SUM) all contributing towards MLS's financial security.[49] As soccer-specific stadiums are built, ownership expands, and television coverage increases, MLS has seen its revenues increase while controlling costs.[12] Television coverage and revenue have increased since the league's early years. In 2006, MLS reached an 8-year TV deal with ESPN
ESPN
spanning the 2007–2014 seasons, and marked the first time that MLS earned rights fees, reported to be worth $7–8 million annually.[161] In September 2012 the league extended its distribution agreement with London-based Media rights agency MP & Silva until 2014 in a deal worth $10 million annually. Total league TV revenues are over $40 million annually.[162][163] In 2011, MLS earned $150 million when it sold a 25% stake in SUM.[12]

Jersey sponsorships

Team Sponsor Annual Value

Atlanta
Atlanta
United FC AmFam Undisclosed[164]

Chicago Fire Valspar Undisclosed[165]

Colorado Rapids Transamerica Undisclosed[166]

Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew
SC Acura Undisclosed[167]

D.C. United Leidos Undisclosed[168]

FC Dallas AdvoCare Undisclosed[169]

Houston
Houston
Dynamo BHP Billiton Undisclosed[170]

LA Galaxy Herbalife $4.4 million[171]

Los Angeles
Los Angeles
FC YouTube Undisclosed[172]

Minnesota United FC Target Undisclosed[173]

Montreal
Montreal
Impact Bank of Montreal US$4 million[174]

New England
England
Revolution UnitedHealthcare Undisclosed[175]

New York City
New York City
FC Etihad Airways Undisclosed[176]

New York Red Bulls Red Bull Owns club

Orlando City SC Orlando Health Undisclosed[177]

Philadelphia Union Bimbo Bakeries USA $3 million[178]

Portland Timbers Alaska Airlines Undisclosed[179]

Real Salt Lake LifeVantage $3 million[180]

San Jose Earthquakes Sutter Health Undisclosed[181]

Seattle
Seattle
Sounders FC Xbox $4 million[182]

Sporting Kansas City Ivy Funds $2.5 million[183]

Toronto
Toronto
FC Bank of Montreal C$4 million+[184]

Vancouver
Vancouver
Whitecaps FC Bell Canada C$4 million+[185]

In early 2005, MLS signed a 10-year, $150 million sponsorship deal with Adidas.[49] In 2007, MLS teams started selling ad space on the front of jerseys to go along with the league-wide sponsorship partners who had already been advertising on the back of club jerseys, following the practice of international sport, specifically soccer. MLS established a floor of $500,000 per shirt sponsorship, with the league receiving a flat fee of $200,000 per deal.[186] As of July 2014, sixteen teams had signed sponsorship deals to have company logos placed on the front of their jerseys (and another team is directly owned by its shirt sponsor), and the league average from jersey sponsors was about $2.4 million.[187] All MLS teams have had jersey sponsors since February 2016. The Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Galaxy made a profit in 2003 in their first season at The Home Depot Center,[48] and FC Dallas
FC Dallas
turned a profit after moving into Pizza Hut Park in 2005.[188] For each season between 2006 and 2009, two to three MLS clubs (generally clubs with a soccer-specific stadium) were reported as profitable by the league.[188][189][190] By 2012 the league had shown a marked improvement in its financial health. In November 2013, Forbes
Forbes
published a report that revealed that ten of the league's nineteen teams earned an operating profit in 2012, while two broke even and seven had a loss. Forbes
Forbes
estimated that the league's collective annual revenues were $494 million, and that the league's collective annual profit was $34 million. Forbes valued the league's franchises to be worth $103 million on average, almost three times as much as the $37 million average valuation in 2008. The Seattle Sounders FC franchise was named the most valuable at $175 million, a 483% gain over the $30 million league entrance fee it paid in 2009.[105] The trend in increased team values has continued with MLS teams seeing a strong 52% increase in franchise values from 2012 to 2014. In August 2015 Forbes
Forbes
updated its MLS franchise values with the most profitable team measuring $245 million and the least $105 million. The average value jumped from $103 to $157 million.[13] As of 2017 Forbes
Forbes
estimates the LA Galaxy
LA Galaxy
are the most valuable MLS team, worth $315 million, while gen Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew
are the lowest value, at $130 million.[191] Rules and officials MLS follows the rules and standards of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The playoff extra time structure follows IFAB standards: two full 15-minute periods, followed by a penalty shootout if necessary. Away goals apply to the playoff stage of the competition, but do not apply to overtime in the second leg of any two-legged playoff series.[192] U.S. Soccer
Soccer
hired the first full-time professional referees in league history in 2007 as part of the league's "Game First" initiatives.[193] Major League Soccer
Soccer
has been implementing fines and suspensions since the 2011 season for simulation (diving) through its Disciplinary Committee, which reviews plays after the match. The first player fined under the new rule was Charlie Davies, fined $1,000 for intentionally deceiving match officials.[194] Team names

For more information on MLS team names, see the individual team entries.

Originally, in the style of other U.S. sports leagues, teams were given nicknames at their creation. Examples include the Columbus Crew, the San Jose Clash
San Jose Clash
and the Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Galaxy. Several of the club names in MLS originated with earlier professional soccer clubs, such as the 1970s-era NASL team names San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers
Portland Timbers
and Vancouver
Vancouver
Whitecaps.[195] D.C. United
D.C. United
and Miami
Miami
Fusion FC were the only two MLS teams to adopt European naming conventions during the 1990s.[196] However, European-style names have increased in MLS, with expansion teams such as Real Salt Lake, Toronto
Toronto
FC, Minnesota United FC
Minnesota United FC
and Atlanta
Atlanta
United FC in addition to 2015 entrants New York City
New York City
FC and Orlando City SC, along with several re-brandings such as the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas) and Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City).[197] The beverage company Red Bull
Red Bull
GmbH owns the New York Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls
as well as other sports teams.[103] Media coverage Main article: Major League Soccer
Soccer
on television See also: List of current Major League Soccer
Soccer
broadcasters United States As of the 2015 season, MLS matches are broadcast nationally by ESPN networks and Fox Sports in English, and Univision
Univision
networks in Spanish under an eight-year contract. Each broadcaster has a window for national regular season matches, with UniMas
UniMas
airing a game on Friday nights in Spanish and additional matches on Univision
Univision
Deportes Network, and ESPN
ESPN
and Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 1
airing games on Sunday evenings in English. ESPN, FS1, and Univision
Univision
share in coverage of the playoffs, while ESPN
ESPN
and FS1 alternate broadcasting the MLS Cup
MLS Cup
final in English. In total, at least 125 matches are aired per-season across all three networks. The three contracts have an average estimated value of $90 million per season—five times larger than the average $18 million value of the previous contracts with ESPN, Univision, and NBC Sports.[198][199][199][200][201][202] 7.[203] Matches not televised nationally are broadcast regionally, often by regional sports networks like Fox Sports Networks, Comcast SportsNet, Spectrum Sports
Spectrum Sports
and Root Sports, and sometimes by terrestrial stations like WJLA-TV, KTXA, WRDQ
WRDQ
anad KMYU.[72] From 2012 to 2014, MLS matches were previously broadcast by NBC Sports, with 40 matches per year—primarily on NBCSN, and select matches broadcast on the NBC network.[204] The move from Fox Soccer
Soccer
to the more widely distributed NBCSN
NBCSN
proved successful, with viewership numbers doubling for the 2012 season over those of Fox Soccer.[205] Canada

Montreal Impact
Montreal Impact
hosting D.C. United
D.C. United
(August 2012).

Coverage of MLS expanded into Canada
Canada
in 2007 with the addition of Toronto
Toronto
FC. Currently, English-language national MLS broadcast rights in Canada
Canada
are held by the TSN networks through a five-year deal first renewed in 2017. The networks will primarily broadcast matches involving the league's Canadian franchises, in combination with separate "regional" rights deals giving TSN exclusive rights to all Toronto FC
Toronto FC
and Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
matches.[206][207][208] A limited number of matches will also be carried by CTV.[208] TVA Sports
TVA Sports
holds exclusive French-language rights to MLS in Canada
Canada
as of the 2017 season. As part of a separate "regional" rights deal, it also holds exclusive rights to all Montreal Impact
Montreal Impact
games.[208][209] International MLS also entered into a four-year contract with Sky Sports
Sky Sports
to broadcast two MLS matches per week in the UK and Ireland from 2015 to 2019.[210] As part of the new agreement, Sky Sports
Sky Sports
will broadcast at least two MLS regular-season matches each week, as well as the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, every MLS Cup
MLS Cup
Playoff game, and the MLS Cup final. The matches will appear across Sky's family of networks. The UK-based broadcaster will also carry weekly MLS highlights across various platforms, including Sky Sports
Sky Sports
News and SkySports.com. Sky Sports will also broadcast at least one match from MLS's new "Decision Day" – the recently announced format change for the final day of the MLS regular season, during which all Eastern Conference games will be played simultaneously at 5 pm ET (9 pm UK time) followed by all Western Conference games at 7 pm ET (11 pm UK time). Many of the matches are expected to determine the final spots for the MLS Cup Playoffs.[211] Eurosport
Eurosport
will also broadcast MLS between 2015 and 2019, with four matches per week being screened live to its continental audience.[212] beIN SPORT to televise league matches live across Southeast Asia and Australia. The agreement runs from the 2015 to 2018 seasons in Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, and Thailand. At least two MLS regular season matches will be aired per week, as well as the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, at least two matches from the newly created Decision Day, all MLS Cup
MLS Cup
Playoff games and MLS Cup. In addition, beIN SPORTS will carry highlights, player features, and other MLS content across its digital platforms.[213] DSPORT, owned by Discovery Communications, will televise league matches in India beginning in 2017.[214] Video games Major League Soccer
Soccer
is a playable league in both the FIFA and the Football Manager
Football Manager
series. The league made its video game debut in 1999 with FIFA 2000. In 2001, Konami
Konami
released ESPN
ESPN
MLS ExtraTime 2002, which, to date, is the only soccer title to be based solely on MLS. The league made its first appearance in the management series Football Manager 2005 in 2004.[215] Player records See also: Major League Soccer
Soccer
records and statistics and 2018 Major League Soccer
Soccer
season § Player statistics Statistics below are for all-time leaders. Statistics are for regular season only. Bold indicates active MLS players.

As of April 1, 2018 [216]

Goals

Rank Player Years Goals

1 Landon Donovan 2001–14; 2016 145

2 Chris Wondolowski 2005–present 135

3 Jeff Cunningham 1998–2011 134

4 Jaime Moreno 1996–2010 133

5 Ante Razov 1996–2000; 2001–09 114

6 Jason Kreis 1996–2007 108

7 Dwayne De Rosario 2001–2014 104

8 Kei Kamara 2006–13; 2015–present 101

Taylor Twellman 2002–2010 101

10 Edson Buddle 2001–10; 2012–15 100

Assists

Rank Player Years Assists

1 Landon Donovan 2001–2014; 2016 136

2 Steve Ralston 1996–2010 135

3 Brad Davis 2002–2016 123

4 Carlos Valderrama 1996–2002 114

5 Preki 1996–2005 112

6 Jaime Moreno 1996–2010 102

7 Marco Etcheverry 1996–2003 101

8 Cobi Jones 1996–2007 91

9 Andy Williams 1998–2011 86

10 Sacha Kljestan 2006–10; 2015–present 85

Shutouts

Rank Player Years Shutouts

1 Nick Rimando 2000–present 138

2 Kevin Hartman 1997–2013 112

3 Joe Cannon 1999–2002; 2003–13 86

4 Jon Busch 2002–2015 83

5 Zach Thornton 1996–2011 76

6 Matt Reis 1998–2013 75

7 Pat Onstad 2003–2011 64

8 Tony Meola 1996–2006 62

9 Stefan Frei 2009–present 59

10 Donovan Ricketts 2009–2015 56

Games Played

Rank Player Years Games

1 Nick Rimando 2000–present 456

2 Kyle Beckerman 2000–present 436

3 Kevin Hartman 1997–2013 416

4 Brad Davis 2002–2016 392

5 Steve Ralston 1996–2010 378

6 Chad Marshall 2004–present 373

7 Brian Carroll 2003–2017 371

8 Bobby Boswell 2005–2017 366

9 Jeff Cunningham 1998–2011 365

10 Drew Moor 2005–present 363

Player records (active) Statistics below are for all-time leaders who are still playing. Statistics are for regular season only.

As of April 1, 2018 [216]

Goals

Rank Player Goals

1 Chris Wondolowski 135

2 Kei Kamara 101

3 Bradley Wright-Phillips 89

4 Clint Dempsey 71

5 David Villa 64

Assists

Rank Player Assists

1 Sacha Kljestan 85

2 Graham Zusi 56

3 Diego Valeri 53

4 Benny Feilhaber 51

Federico Higuain 51

Dax McCarty 51

Shutouts

Rank Player Shutouts

1 Nick Rimando 138

2 Stefan Frei 59

3 Luis Robles 51

4 Sean Johnson 45

5 David Ousted 42

Games played

Rank Player Games

1 Nick Rimando 456

2 Kyle Beckerman 436

3 Chad Marshall 373

4 Drew Moor 363

5 Jeff Larentowicz 361

MLS awards At the conclusion of each season, the league presents several awards for outstanding achievements, mostly to players, but also to coaches, referees, and teams. The finalists in each category are determined by voting from MLS players, team employees, and the media.[217]

MLS Best XI MLS Coach of the Year Award MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award MLS Defender of the Year Award MLS Fair Play Award (individual) MLS Fair Play Award (team) MLS Goal of the Year Award MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award MLS Golden Boot Landon Donovan
Landon Donovan
MVP Award MLS Newcomer of the Year Award MLS Referee of the Year Award MLS Rookie of the Year Award MLS Save of the Year Award

See also

Association football
Association football
portal Soccer
Soccer
in the United States
United States
portal Sport in Canada
Canada
portal

Canadian Championship Generation Adidas List of MLS coaches List of MLS drafts List of MLS seasons List of American and Canadian soccer champions MLS All-Star Game MLS Attendance MLS Combine MLS Cup
MLS Cup
Playoffs MLS International Roster Slots MLS Players Union MLS Reserve Division MLS rivalry cups MLS SuperDraft MLS on television Soccer
Soccer
in the United States Sueño MLS National Women's Soccer
Soccer
League SuperLiga U.S. soccer league system US Open Cup World Series of Soccer
Soccer
(MLS)

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National Championships Jefferson Cup

Defunct men's outdoor leagues

AFA (1884–1924) American Cup (1885–1924) ALPF (1894) NAFL (1895–98) AAFA Cup (1912–13) ASL (1921–33) ASL (1933–83) NASFL (1946–47) USA (1967) NPSL (1967) NASL (1968–84) USL (1984–85) LSSA (1987–92) ASL (1988–89) WSA (1989) USL 2nd (1990–2010) A-League
A-League
(1995–2004) USL 1st (2005–10) D2 Pro League (2010) PLA (2015—2017)

Defunct women's outdoor leagues

W-League (1995–2015) WUSA (2000–03) WPS (2007–12) WPSL Elite (2012–13)

Defunct men's indoor leagues

NASL (1975–76, 1979–84) MISL (1978–92) NPSL (1984–2001) CISL (1993–97) EISL (1997–98) WISL (1998–2001) MISL (2001–08) AISL (2003–08) XSL (2008–09) MISL (2008–14)

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Soccer
Soccer
in Canada

Overview

Canadian Soccer
Soccer
Association League system Hall of Fame Clubs Champions Venues

Soccer-specific stadium

Women's soccer in Canada Coaches Leagues

Men's national teams

Senior

results records and statistics

U-23 (Olympic) U-20 U-18 U-17 Futsal Beach soccer

Men's leagues

Major League Soccer

MLS Cup

United Soccer
Soccer
League League1 Ontario Première Ligue de soccer du Québec Premier Development League Pacific Coast Soccer
Soccer
League Alberta Major Soccer
Soccer
League Canadian Soccer
Soccer
League (Non-FIFA) Canadian Premier League

Men's indoor leagues

Arena Premier League

Men's university soccer

U Sports men's soccer U Sports men's soccer championship Atlantic University Sport Quebec Student Sport Federation Ontario University Athletics Canada
Canada
West Universities Athletic Association

Men's college soccer

CCAA Championship Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association Quebec Student Sport Federation Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference Pacific Western Athletic Association

Women's national teams

Senior U-20 U-17

Women's leagues

National Women's Soccer
Soccer
League Women's Premier Soccer
Soccer
League League1 Ontario

Women's university soccer

U Sports women's soccer U Sports women's soccer championship

Cup competitions

Canadian Championship

Voyageurs Cup

The Challenge Trophy Jubilee Trophy

Other competitions

Canadian Premier League
Canadian Premier League
(proposed) Soccer
Soccer
at the Canada
Canada
Games Croatian-North American Soccer
Soccer
Tournament

Defunct men's leagues

Canadian National Soccer
Soccer
League Canadian Soccer
Soccer
League (1987–92) Open Canada
Canada
Cup Victoria Challenge Cup USL First Division D2 Pro League (2010)

Defunct men's indoor leagues

Canadian Major Indoor Soccer
Soccer
League

Defunct women's leagues

W-League (1995–2015)

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Top level association football leagues of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean (CONCACAF)

Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Aruba Bahamas Barbados Belize Bermuda Bonaire† British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Costa Rica Cuba Curaçao Dominica Dominican Republic El Salvador French Guiana† Grenada Guadeloupe† Guatemala Guyana Haiti Honduras Jamaica Martinique† Mexico Montserrat Nicaragua Panama Puerto Rico Saint Kitts and Nevis (Saint Kitts, Nevis) Saint Lucia Saint Martin† Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sint Maarten† Suriname Trinidad and Tobago Turks and Caicos Islands United States
United States
& Canada1 U.S. Virgin Islands

† Associated members 1 United States
United States
and Canada
Canada
share one league

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Major professional sports leagues in the United States
United States
and Canada

Canadian Football League Major League Baseball Major League Soccer National Basketball Association National Football League National Hockey League

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Top level men's association football leagues around the world

Africa (clubs)

North Africa

Botola
Botola
(Morocco) Ligue Professionnelle 1 (Algeria) Ligue Professionnelle 1 (Tunisia) Premier League
Premier League
(Egypt) Premier League
Premier League
(Libya)

West Africa

Campeonato Nacional (Cape Verde) Campeonato Nacional (Guinea-Bissau) Championnat National (Guinea) Championnat National (Togo) First Division (Gambia) Ligue 1
Ligue 1
(Ivory Coast) Ligue 1
Ligue 1
(Mauritania) National Premier League
National Premier League
(Sierra Leone) Première Division (Mali) Premier League
Premier League
(Benin) Premier League
Premier League
(Burkina Faso) Premier League
Premier League
(Ghana) Premier League
Premier League
(Liberia) Premier League
Premier League
(Niger) Premier League
Premier League
(Nigeria) Premier League
Premier League
(Senegal) Primera División (Equatorial Guinea)

Central Africa

Championnat National D1 (Gabon) Central African Republic League Elite One
Elite One
(Cameroon) São Tomé and Príncipe Championship

East Africa

Premier League
Premier League
(Burundi) Premier League
Premier League
(Djibouti) Premier League
Premier League
(Eritrea) Premier League
Premier League
(Ethiopia) Premier League
Premier League
(Kenya) Premier League
Premier League
(Sudan) Premier League
Premier League
(Tanzania) Premier League
Premier League
(Zanzibar) Rwanda National Football League Somali League South Sudan Football Championship Ugandan Super League

Southern Africa

First Division (Seychelles) Girabola
Girabola
(Angola) Mauritian League Moçambola (Mozambique) Premier Division (Zanzibar) Premier League
Premier League
(Botswana) Premier League
Premier League
(Comoros) Premier League
Premier League
(Lesotho) Premier League
Premier League
(Namibia) Premier League
Premier League
(Swaziland) Premier League
Premier League
(Zambia) Premier Soccer
Soccer
League (South Africa) Premier Soccer
Soccer
League (Zimbabwe) THB Champions League (Madagascar)

Asia (clubs)

West Asia

Saudi Professional League
Saudi Professional League
(Saudi Arabia) Kuwaiti Premier League (Kuwait) Qatar Stars League
Qatar Stars League
(Qatar) UAE Pro-League Iraqi Premier League
Iraqi Premier League
(Iraq) Oman Professional League
Oman Professional League
(Oman) Jordan Premier League
Jordan Premier League
(Jordan) Lebanese Premier League
Lebanese Premier League
(Lebanon) Bahraini Premier League (Bahrain) Yemeni League
Yemeni League
(Yemen)

Central Asia

Persian Gulf Pro League
Persian Gulf Pro League
(Iran) Uzbek League
Uzbek League
(Uzbekistan) Ýokary Liga
Ýokary Liga
(Turkmenistan)

South Asia

I-League/ Indian Super League
Indian Super League
(India) Bangladesh Super Soccer
Soccer
League (Bangladesh)

East Asia

Chinese Super League
Chinese Super League
(China PR) J1 League
J1 League
(Japan) K League 1 (Korea Republic) DPR Korea League (Korea DPR) Hong Kong Premier League
Hong Kong Premier League
(Hong Kong) Taiwan Football Premier League
Taiwan Football Premier League
(Chinese Taipei)

Southeast Asia

Thai League 1
Thai League 1
(Thailand) Liga Super
Liga Super
(Malaysia) Singapore Premier League (Singapore) Liga 1 (Indonesia) A-League
A-League
(Australia/New Zealand) V.League 1
V.League 1
(Vietnam) Myanmar National League
Myanmar National League
(Myanmar) Philippines Football League
Philippines Football League
(Philippines) LFA Primeira Divisão (Timor Leste)

Europe (clubs)

Belgian First Division A
Belgian First Division A
(Belgium) Danish Superliga
Danish Superliga
(Denmark) Premier League
Premier League
(England) Ligue 1
Ligue 1
(France) Bundesliga
Bundesliga
(Germany) Superleague Greece
Superleague Greece
(Greece) Serie A
Serie A
(Italy) Eredivisie
Eredivisie
(Netherlands) Eliteserien (Norway) Primeira Liga
Primeira Liga
(Portugal) Russian Premier League
Premier League
(Russia) La Liga
La Liga
(Spain) Swiss Super League
Swiss Super League
(Switzerland) Süper Lig
Süper Lig
(Turkey) Ukrainian Premier League
Premier League
(Ukraine) Czech First League
Czech First League
(Czech Republic) Liga I
Liga I
(Romania) Scottish Premiership
Scottish Premiership
(Scotland) Vatican City Championship (Vatican City)

North & Central America, and the Caribbean (clubs)

North America

Major League Soccer
Soccer
(USA/Canada) Liga MX
Liga MX
(Mexico)

Caribbean

Ligue Haïtienne
Ligue Haïtienne
(Haiti) Jamaican National Premier League TT Pro League
TT Pro League
(Trinidad and Tobago)

Oceania (clubs)

A-League
A-League
(Australia/New Zealand) New Zealand Football Championship Solomon Islands S-League
Solomon Islands S-League
(Solomon Islands)

South America (clubs)

Primera División (Argentina) Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano
Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano
(Bolivia) Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
(Brazil) Chilean Primera División
Chilean Primera División
(Chile) Categoría Primera A
Categoría Primera A
(Colombia) Ecuadorian Serie A
Serie A
(Ecuador) Paraguayan Primera División
Paraguayan Primera División
(Paraguay) Peruvian Primera División
Peruvian Primera División
(Peru) Uruguayan Primera División
Uruguayan Primera División
(Uruguay) Venezuelan Primera División
Venezuelan Primera División
(Venezuela)

Domestic association football season Geography of association football

Preceded by NASL Division 1 Soccer
Soccer
League in the United States 1996–present Succeeded 

.