20 years ago yesterday, MLS hosted its first championship game. On Sunday, the league will complete its current regular season. At double the number of teams from the start with more coming next year, the progress of the league has honestly been remarkable.
Atlanta was one of the stronger candidates for getting a MLS club in the early days. The league wanted to be here, but there was not a local owner willing to take the plunge on another professional soccer league. The city still remembered the failure of the Chiefs, Generals, and Attack. They also saw the Ruckus barely hanging on at that point. If Atlanta had received a team to start in 1996 or 1998, it would have likely been league owned and chances are it would have failed.
While the Atlanta soccer scene has dramatically changed from then to now, so has MLS and American soccer. There is a line of potential investors willing to put down four times the amount of money the entire league had to start. There are not legitimate conversations about the league shutting up shop, the focus is on growth and improvement.
It’s still easy to get frustrated about silly roster rules and things in MLS that you might not like. However, 20 years is really not that long ago (the fact that Los Del Rio’s Macarena was at the top of the pop charts might say differently). The league today is in a dramatically different place than it was at the beginning. That’s something to celebrate.
FC Dallas continues racking up accomplishments, their 5-2 win last night puts them into the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League (Big D Soccer)
Orlando adds the last steel beam to its new downtown stadium (Orlando Sentinel)
MLS Cup 1996, where are they now? (MLS)
USL president Jake Edwards talks about the growth of the league ahead of USL Cup (MLS)
Lauren Holiday has brain tumor successfully removed (BBC)
Christian Fuchs signs new contract, will remain with Leicester through 2019 (LCFC)
Referee Howard Webb talks fans, managers, and players (Independent)
Georgia shuts out Ole Miss in Athens 3-0 (Red & Black)
West Georgia prepares for a non-conference match with Armstrong State (UWG)
Georgia Gwinnett hosts games this weekend as part of Homecoming (Grizzly Athletics)