It’s no secret that Major League Soccer is different from the rest of the word football/soccer leagues. From the level of play to the pay structure to even the types of stadiums played in, the differences are quite obvious.
One difference is pretty glaring: the summer schedule.
Unlike most European and world leagues, MLS begins play in March, plays through the Spring and ends with a championship game in December. That has drawn much criticism from those who look down upon the MLS in comparison to the other top world leagues.
Even last week, a report surfaced that the league was looking to possibly switch to a traditional winter schedule. But the league refuted the report and said they were going to keep the same schedule.
And rightfully so.
Major League Soccer doesn’t need a winter schedule to continue improving or keep moving up the world ranks. Everyone who is saying otherwise is just trying to be uppity.
First off, sports in America is different than the rest of the world. In every other country, football/soccer is the top sport and doesn’t have to worry about any other sport. In America, that’s not the case. While the “soccer revolution” has slowly, but surely started to take over the country, soccer is still the fourth sport in the U.S., and that’s looking at it at the most positive view. Football, basketball and hockey each play a fall/winter schedule. Trying to somehow fit themselves into that window would very much be suicidal. There’s no way it would be able to compete with so much and grow at the same time.
Also, the weather in the winter months in the U.S. is very different than the weather elsewhere. In England, it does snow as we have seen at times, but it’s manageable and in all honesty, happens so rarely that it’s not too much of a factor. In America, on the other hand, many northern teams would surely be inundated with snow throughout nearly the entire season. The biggest example comes from the U.S. World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in March in Denver. It snowed heavily to the point where the match was nearly halted and Costa Rica wanted to file a protest (but couldn’t follow those rules). Yeah, that wouldn’t be much fun to deal with every week.
I understand that the summer schedule causes problems when the World Cup rolls around once every four years and there are a number of MLS players that have to leave their club teams to represent their countries and that can cause problems. But that’s not a big enough problem to warrant a drastic change.
So far, the MLS is growing quite nicely. A new expansion team in New York is about to begin play and it appears as though Orlando City might make the move up to MLS soon after getting funding approved for a new stadium. But the league can’t sacrifice that success and momentum just to appease a few people.
The summer schedule is just find. Let’s not touch it.