The Three Major Leagues of Soccer in the USA
Did you know that there are three major soccer leagues in the United States? Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Soccer League (NASL) are destination soccer leagues in the United States. MLS teams have average attendances of over 20,000 spectators per game, making them the second and third most-watched professional sports leagues in the United States. Despite its popularity, NAIA MEN'S and WOMEN'S teams play in the USL First Division, which is governed by FIFA. MLS teams have a competitive advantage over other leagues, because the games are more accessible, and the fans are more engaged in the games.
U.S. Soccer is governed by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
The U.S. Soccer Federation was formed in 1913 and became a member of the world governing body, FIFA. The first official national championship tournament was held in 1914. In addition, the Federation is responsible for the U.S. Open Cup, the oldest cup competition in United States soccer. It is a single-elimination tournament open to all affiliated teams in the United States.
The FIFA structure is detailed on the FIFA website. The mission of FIFA is to develop soccer worldwide, touch the world, and create a better future. The organization consists of a number of confederations that serve as umbrella organizations for FIFA on different continents. These organizations host their own international tournaments and help organize soccer in the member countries. FIFA has many responsibilities, but the US soccer structure is the most complicated.
The United States Soccer Federation is one of six affiliates in the world. It is the largest affiliate and oversees all the game's major competitions. The national soccer federations are the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the Confederations of North America and the Caribbean, the UEFA for Europe, and CONMEBOL for South America and Oceania.
In addition to the United States Soccer Federation, there are several organizations that govern the sport. Among them are US Youth Soccer and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). These organizations organize and develop soccer in the United States. There are many different types of soccer in the United States, including select soccer, travel soccer, and organized games. Some of the local soccer organizations have adult programs and offer competitive soccer.
The United States has hosted three World Cups, and its major leagues have continued to grow and gain in prestige. In 2009, the U.S. Soccer team welcomed the Seattle Sounders, setting a record attendance per game for women in the U.S. Women's Professional Soccer League (WPSL). The league also expanded its leagues with two additional clubs. A third club is set to be added in 2010.
MLS is a destination league
Major League Soccer is growing in popularity in the USA. In the past decade, the league's average attendance has increased by 27%. As of 2014, MLS has 13 stadiums, with two more in the works. The league has been gaining new teams every season. There are several reasons why the MLS is becoming a destination league for soccer in the USA. Here are just a few:
The new league is attracting a new breed of wealthy owners. Recently, new ownership groups have taken over teams in Houston, Orlando, Salt Lake City, and LAFC. They've demonstrated a willingness to invest more in players than in the past. These new owners are joining aggressive ownership groups in MLS, with new ownership groups coming into LAFC and Atlanta. The new owners have the potential to make a significant impact on the league.
In the past, the MLS was considered a backwater in the soccer world, but now it's seen as a legitimate source of international talent. While some European clubs view the MLS as a potential source of star players, the league's newfound prominence should help it grow as a destination league for soccer in the United States. In addition to attracting international soccer talent, the MLS is cheaper to play in than Europe.
The expansion of the MLS has resulted in increased competition, popularity, and revenue. With so many new teams, the MLS must provide a level playing field for all clubs. Like the Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga, the MLS needs proper regulations and infrastructure to grow and become a destination league for soccer fans. If the expansion is not addressed soon, the sport will continue to grow and prosper.
The MLS has a long-term game plan. The demographics in the U.S. are changing. Younger generations are more interested in soccer than ever. In fact, it has the most youthful fan base of any men's pro league. The league has announced that thirty percent of its supporters are Hispanic. In addition to the youth base, MLS has a diverse fan base, with people from every race and ethnicity.
NAIA MEN'S and NAIA WOMEN'S teams compete in the USL First Division
Baker College's men's and women's soccer teams recently made their way to their third consecutive NAIA Finals, defeating Bellevue 2-1 in the opening round. Baker finished the season with a 15-3-2 overall record, and three players were named to the Second Team NAIA All-America squad. The team won the Heart Conference Tournament in 2012 and advanced to the Round of 16 in the NAIA National Tournament.
Despite the similarities in size and structure, the NAIA has a significantly smaller roster. NAIA teams are generally comprised of public and private schools, and most teams consist of around 25 to 40 players. In addition to fewer athletes, NAIA teams are less likely to have a "full-ride" scholarship.
Westmont College is the lone NAIA men's team to reach the USL Finals. The Bobcats finished the regular season with a record of 13-2-5, including a perfect 5-0 record in conference play. In addition, Coach Martins' squad also won two Cal Pac Coach of Character awards and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Salem bracket. In the Finals, the Bobcats topped Menlo College in overtime and defeated undefeated Corban University in penalty kicks to earn the automatic berth.
The Missouri Valley Warriors have consistently earned Team Academic Awards and Team Ethics Awards. The team was most recently named the NAIA Scholar Team in Summer 2016. Coach Roblee has also spent the last two decades teaching soccer in Kansas City. He began his career at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, and went on to coach club and amateur teams. He was also involved in the Olympic Development Program and the Premier Development League.
Quincy (IL) has won 11 NAIA national championships. Keiser is the current national champion. Co-champions are highlighted in italics. Some of the following players have gone on to play professionally after NAIA competition. The NAIA is proud of their history in the USL. Its a great place to play.
North American Soccer League
The North American Soccer League was a top-level professional soccer league that operated between 1968 and 1984 in the United States and Canada. It was the first national soccer league in the United States. It was the first major professional league to compete at the professional level, and its teams featured some of the best soccer players in the world. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest leagues in the history of soccer. While the league was short-lived, the legacy of its legendary teams remains.
The North American Soccer League's purpose was to promote the sport of soccer and to supervise competition among member clubs. The league's constitution and regulations govern the activities of member clubs. The league's commissioner is the chief executive officer, and its board of directors consists of one representative from each of the member clubs. The NASL's competition rules are governed by the USSF's Professional League Standards. The league's rules and regulations were updated in 2014 and 2015, when the league became Division II.
The North American Soccer League is a non-profit association with 24 member clubs. The League's players union, the North American Soccer League Players Association, petitioned the National Rugby League Board for an election of representation. The NRLB ruled that the League and clubs were joint employers, and therefore the players should be represented in the players union. The players union was eventually elected, but players from Canada and the United States were left out of the unit.
While MLS' attendance has increased, it is not at a level where the European leagues can compete with it. The North American Soccer League is unlikely to overtake the European soccer league, but the proposed salary cap may help clubs sign top talent and make the league more attractive to fans. The proposed league is subject to back room meetings, so a few years may pass before it becomes reality. It's a rumor, but recent history tells us that the league will be dead in a few years.
In addition to its league championship, NASL clubs also participate in other international competitions. The United States has its own national team, while Canada has its own National Soccer League. In 2010, the league's inaugural season did not participate in the U.S. Open Cup. The Carolina RailHawks and Atlanta Silverbacks reached the Quarterfinals. Moreover, the Canadian Soccer League features Ottawa Fury FC Edmonton as professional teams. The winner of the Canadian championship is then eligible to play in the CONCACAF Champions League.