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Major League Soccer: 51 ways to improve it

By Simon Allen



Now that the regular season of Major League Soccer is winding down and we are all getting ready for playoffs, I wanted to throw out 51 suggestions that would make MLS a better League. The League as come a long way since 1996 but there is massive room for improvement.

  1. Ask the teams to Stop hiring bad coaches. I am still baffled by the decision to hire certain coaches and I totally want to name them ... most MLS fans know who they are... when someone like Glenn Roeder, no emails please, is sitting at home waiting for a phone call.
  2. Please stop saying that the best future coaches will be ones that played in MLS…The best future coaches wont even be ones that played much. Mr. Wenger, Mr.Benitez AVB, The Special One and Mr. Arena all proved that you don't need to be a decent player to be a great manager. And other than Jason Kreis, which ex-player has done well as a coach in America? It's time to go out and get Star Managers. New York in its infancy had some fantastic managers. Eddie Firmani, Bora and Carlos Quieroz. They were all saddled with pretty bad team players which was just growing pains of a new League. Now we have the quality players but not the quality managers.

  3. Please get better announcers for televised matches. 99% of the color-commentary is just filler and the rest of the time its utter nonsense. Get Sports commentators who love the game not ex-players looking for a handout.
At the National level, NBC has done a decent job but the local markets, where the support is created, have left something to be desired.

  4. Make John Harkes talk in his regular American accent when he's on TV .It seemed like his accent got more and more Scottish as years have progressed… C'mon Harkesy I'm losing my accent …why can't you just let yours go? The suggestions get better.

  5. MLS should be more active on placing their players abroad. Rather than players moving to the Danish/Norwegian/Swedish League on a free, MLS should go to these foreign leagues and actually "pitch" their players to the team.This way MLS will get some transfer fees and the US national team pool will get bigger. Also, having an American playing abroad attracts foreign fans to the American game.

  6. Don't complain when your players leave for foreign clubs on a Free transfer for more money…wouldn't you?? 

  7. Make the  Players use the proper numbering on their shirts… #1 Goalie, #2 Left back #10 center-midfield, #9 striker.

  8. The Half Time reports are usually pretty awful. Recapping the first half and pretty low budget production of an interview with a player we all have heard about makes most people want to switch over to Antiques Roadshow. Scrap it all together and have the clubs produce a half time show that will show the rest of America a little glimpse of what it's like actually inside the stadium.

  9. MLS…please  don't serve crappy food at the stadiums. The beer is usually watered down and the food it never that great. It's a minor complaint but a kebab at the stadium could go a long way.

  10. This is American Soccer and inside the stadium,on match day, it should scream “America”. Cheerleaders, Marching Bands, Half Time shows...the whole American kit and kaboodle. Televised, it would show anyone flipping the channels that they're watching American Soccer and to everyone in the stadium, it brings in another level of entertainment.

  11. A full stadium looks great on TV. But you may not get that when Chivas USA are playing Portland Timbers at the HDC. One way to get the non-fan or the average fan into the stadium is to offer half price tickets (or even 3 dollar tickets) to be sold after half time. The fans will see 45 minutes of a match, the time where most goals are scored and the fans who stayed home to watch it on the telly see a full stadium.

  12. Don't listen to fans who talk about getting in line with the European schedule… Playing in the summer is fun and seriously who the hell is going to watch Sporting KC while its snowing. Pundits have said that playing the Euro-Schedule will make it easier for clubs to sell players during the European Transfer Window but Soccer in America should be played in the sun.

  13. More importantly, don't listen to the fans that scream for relegation. We all know that relegation in MLS wont work so don't string along the fans who want it. Just come out and say “no, it wont ever happen and here's why” then put this subject to bed forever.

  14. Instruct the refs to give Red cards for diving.It's the worst kind of cheating.Then hand out fines to the worst actors and fine the clubs for good measure

  15. Also have the refs give red cards  to the players who pull out the phantom red-card when they get fouled.

  16. Stop your commentators on TV from calling diving in the box "gamesmansship" and stop calling diving “simulation.” 
Diving is not “part of the beautiful game” and it's a horrible way of winning.

  17. Let the fans keep the balls that get kicked into the stand. It might cost you a few dollars but the chance of getting a free ball would certainly keep fans coming back the following week.

  18. Cater to the soccer enthusiast. In the past, The Galaxy have bought in players to cater to the Mexican fan, The El Salvadorean fan, the Guatemalan fan and the Korean Fan. I'm none of those! How about catering to the Soccer fan! You can do that by playing a beautiful game and winning more often.

  19. Please don't credit the great run the US national team had in 2002 to the MLS players…Its just not true…. Yes it was a standout performance…. But give credit where credit is due. The players that played abroad were the ones that made the team great.

  20. Let's not put too much emphasis on the Draft. It's a relic and with time the Club Academy will render the Draft obsolete.

  21. Focus on youth development more than you are now rather than college players. Michael Owen was preparing for his first World Cup while American “Student athletes” were preparing for midterms. Some of the college soccer players just want an education and have no aspirations to be a professional.

  22. MLS …How about scouting your areas rec-leagues and find the next wonder-kid or the unknown 28 year old that makes the regular pros look like AYSO drop-outs.
The odds of a player flying under the radar is not that high and it would make the ultimate soccer Cinderella story.

  23. Squash the ludicrous idea that picking up young talented South Americans for next to nothing is better than getting older European Stars. Which young South American has made a bigger impact than Thierry Henry and David Beckham?

  24. Know that MLS has not become the only “retirement league” in the world. We lost Didier Drogba to China and Allesandro Del Piero to Australia. Add to that the Oil producing countries, Russia and in the future,India. MLS will be lower down on the list of leagues that Older Superstars would want to close their careers in. Figure out a plan that will get a few Stateside.

  25. Create a decent website.

  26. Create a second website that brings the best soccer writers together. Not bloggers and fans but real experts and pundits. Put it up on the world wide web and let them work at honest conversation about MLS.

  27. Acknowledge that MLS doesn't owe anything to the old NASL. It annoys me to no end when I hear that the NASL paved the way for the MLS…it didn't… the NASL was a circus that set back soccer in America by 20 years. It's teams never won an Open Cup nor did it produce players of enough quality to get the US into a World Cup. It was a failed league.

  28. Please don't create unneeded hype about the next uber-star or next wonder-kid.That will be a sure fire way to watch those players burnout and fade away. Let their play speak itself.

  29. Shouldn't there be free REDBULL drinks at the Redbull NY games?

  30. Stress the importance of the League table and winning the Supporters Shield.A 5th place team can win the cup but it seems like when the season is over fans soon forget the team that was top of the table.

  31. Promote the US Open. Its an awesome event that could very well have the romance of the FA Cup if more people knew about it and the clubs promoted it better.

  32. Help the US Open find a big sponsor to increase the marketing of the event. This will improve some of the lower league teams in America which wont necessarily help MLS teams but will help the player pool in the US.

  33. Start an MLS Coaching academy.

  34. Create better looking jerseys. Away kits that are any other color but White
.How about creating fan jerseys? Not replicas but realistic looking affordable $25 shirts that kids can buy with their pocket money and lower income parents can buy for their kids year in and year out.

  35. If someone offers you money for a player…take it and run. Don't be greedy. That same player will one day come back to MLS - hopefully as an international superstar
bringing some of his international fans with him. While he's gone, he will promote MLS and get other players to consider playing in America.

  36. Sell the Stars of the League at their peak.The next batch of great soccer players are waiting on the wings to replace them. MLS fans don't follow the players they follow and support the teams.

  37. Add an expansion team in Mexico to truly make it a North American League. MLS will finally and legitimately tap into the Mexican Soccer watching audience and the new club would provide a springboard to sell American players to clubs in the Mexican League.

  38. Learn from the Chivas USA/ LA Galaxy experience that two teams in a major market just doesn't work. Think about the Clippers/Lakers, one team is always going to be in the shadows of the other. Why bring in a second New York team when there are so many other cities that want a team?

  39. The Salary Cap has to be raised. This isn't a new idea.

  40. Up the Designated Players allowed on one team to 5. It's a slippery old-NASL slope we may travel if MLS does allow 5 DP's but it may be worth doing with strict regulations and limitations.

  41. Modify the Generation Adidas program and make it possible to include young foreign players. This would automatically encourage more foreign scouting.

  42. If you're going to subscribe to the idea that young Argentinians and Brazilians will help MLS then set up MLS combines in major cities in South America to find those players.

  43. Scrap the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. One table is enough. How much stock do fans put into conference trophies anyway.

  44. MLS teams should play each other twice, home and away. This will even out the schedule already and place and will want the fans wanting more. After all, what's the urgency in seeing a team play this week when you can see them three weeks later?

  45. Why stop at 20 teams? There are plenty of cities in America that can handle an MLS team.

  46. If MLS does stop expansion at 20 teams then treat the cities around the US that love soccer to actual league matches. Consider two matches per team played outside their homes. New England Revolution Vs Houston Dynamo at St Louis or NY Redbull Vs San Jose Earthquakes in Tulsa would go a long way to promote MLS in parts of America that will never get a top flight franchise.

  47. Bring the fans, or at least a designated fans representative, into the franchises “boardroom.” There is a disconnect between the supporters, supporter's groups and the folks in charge. Bridge the gap and work hand in hand with the people who put down their hard earned money to support the team.

  48. Have two MLS All-Star matches. One in the middle of the season as normal and one at the end of the season a weekend before the final. Place that All-Star match in a city without an MLS franchise and invite a Mexico All-Star team.

  49. Promote the Women's game!

  50. Help the Soccer Hall of Fame open its doors....in Los Angeles.

  51. Promote MLS in every corner of the globe. Make this your number one job. For MLS to be the biggest thing in America it has to be watched outside of the US the same way the Premier League is watched outside of England. Hand out the rights to matches in foreign countries for free. Have tours to smaller soccer countries to showcase the league. Make player loans that will get entire nations watching MLS. It's not enough that MLS is doing well here. MLS has to be a globally recognized brand.

So what do you think? That's 51 ways I would improve MLS. How would you make MLS better? Let me know.