With the 2017 MLS season less than two months away, most eyes in American soccer have been on the construction jobs being done in Atlanta and Minnesota. However, let’s not forget that in one year, we will see another new team join the league in Los Angeles.
Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times wrote a great column about how LAFC is coming together, and specifically how they want to debut in a bigger and better way than Atlanta.
Baxter wrote about John Thorrington, the executive vice president of soccer operations for LAFC:
“I don’t ignore it,” he said. “What Atlanta has done is great. It’s gotten a lot of attention.”
But, he added, “being a competitor, I want us to be the best team in the league.”
In other words, bring it on.
The league and its television partners have noticed what Atlanta has done, placing them on national broadcasts fifteen times. That is more than any other team in the league, except for Thorrington’s cross-town rival LA Galaxy. Signing young Designated Players, hiring a world-class manager in Tata Martino, and investing in a $60 million training facility have set a standard for future MLS expansion clubs to match.
Thorrington and his LAFC seem to be up to the challenge. They are already in discussions with players and agents, according to Baxter. Last year at this time, Atlanta added Alex Tambakis and Junior Burgos. LAFC has an affiliation agreement with the Orange County Blues of the USL, very similar to what Atlanta did last year with Charleston.
Could LAFC pull off a major acquisition one year away from its inaugural training camp? Reports are out there linking LAFC to the usual suspects like Chicharito, Wayne Rooney, and Andres Guardado. Anything is possible, especially in dealing with the big collective checkbook of the LAFC ownership group.
If David Beckham and the arrival of clubs like Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders ushered in MLS 2.0, then Atlanta United and LAFC are gunning to be the leaders of MLS 3.0.
Toronto FC happy to get Brandon Aubrey with the 21st pick of the SuperDraft (MLS)
Interview with San Jose top pick Jackson Yueill (Center Line Soccer)
Behind the scenes with Minnesota United at the SuperDraft (MLS)
Note + video: United set to hire experienced MLS play-by-play broadcaster Callum Williams. #MNUFC https://t.co/SjJxpZwf8Z— Andy Greder (@andygreder) January 15, 2017
A profile of Orlando City new general manager (Orlando Sentinel)
Nashville’s competing ownership groups in merger talks (Nashville Business Chronicle)
Incredible tackle from the Burkina Faso goalkeeper Kouakou Koffi at the African Cup of Nations:
Could these new rules affect the big spending of CSL owners?
New #CSL rules announced:— China football news (@china_football) January 15, 2017
Only three overseas players may appear in a game (no AFC separation).
Five may enter 18-man matchday squad.
STEVE REID named @USYouthSoccer National Boys Rec Coach of the Year! ⚽ #TeamGA pic.twitter.com/1Ok84SCMye— Georgia Soccer (@GeorgiaSoccer) January 14, 2017