l About MLS
WHAT:Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and was founded in 1996, after the country hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Now in its 13th season in 2008, MLS is experiencing a period of growth highlighted by expansion, the construction of soccer-specific stadiums, and the addition of new investors. The San Jose Earthquakes joined the League as an expansion team this year. Seattle will be home to an expansion team named Seattle Sounders FC in 2009 and the Philadelphia area will be home to the 16th team in 2010. The League aims to have 18 teams by 2012.
Kansas City Wizards
New England Revolution
New York Red Bulls
Seattle begins play in 2009, Philadelphia in 2010; their conference affiliations will be announced at a later date.
Major League Soccer is structured as a single, limited liability company (single-entity). In the single-entity business structure, club operators own a financial stake in the league, not just their individual team. The MLS investors are:
STADIUMS:Major League Soccer has elevated the sport's stature in North America by building soccer-specific stadiums. In 1999, the League began moving aggressively to create custom-made venues for its teams that generate the atmosphere and intimacy the game deserves. The seating capacity for these stadiums is usually between 18,000 and 30,000 and the stadiums share design concepts with some of the finest soccer venues in Europe. In 2008, eight of the League's 14 teams will compete in stadiums built specifically for professional soccer. Real Salt Lake's new stadium will debut in the fall of 2008, Red Bull Park is scheduled to open in 2009, and the Kansas City Wizards plan to open their new facility in 2010. The existing soccer-specific stadiums in MLS are:
The portfolio of blue chip partners working with MLS to grow their business continues to expand with the growth of the League. A list of current sponsors, suppliers, and partners - including the year in which the partnership was formed - follows:
MLS CHRONOLOGY: 1993-PRESENTDecember 17, 1993: In fulfillment of U.S. Soccer's promise to FIFA, World Cup USA 1994 Chairman and CEO Alan I. Rothenberg announces the formation of Major League Soccer (MLS) and unveils the league logo.
March 15, 1994: MLS, ABC Sports and ESPN announce a three-year broadcast agreement, whereby in its initial year 10 games will be televised on ESPN, 25 games on ESPN2 and the championship game on ABC.
May 18, 1994: MLS announces that 22 cities have submitted formal bids to secure a team.
June 15, 1994: MLS selects its first seven teams to compete in the league. The teams announced are Boston, Columbus, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York (Long Island), San Jose and Washington, D.C.
October 12, 1994: MLS announces its plan to begin play in 1996, instead of 1995.
November 16, 1994: MLS Chairman Alan I. Rothenberg announces that Metromedia partners John Kluge and Stuart Subotnick, the Hunt family, headed by American sports entrepreneur Lamar Hunt and his son, Clark; LA Soccer Partners, headed by Los Angeles investor Marc Rapaport; and API Soccer, headed by Kevin Payne, are MLS' charter investors and team operators. New York/New Jersey will operate as a single market, with a team to be placed in Tampa.
January 3, 1995: MLS announces Tab Ramos, U.S. national team star, as its first player.
June 6, 1995: Goalkeeper Jorge Campos (Mexico) becomes the first international player to sign with Major League Soccer. Also, Tab Ramos is assigned to the MetroStars. MLS announces its first official sponsor as Budweiser becomes the “official beer” of Major League Soccer. MLS announces the completion of its financing with the addition of two major investors, Denver businessman Philip F. Anschutz and New England Patriots owners, the Kraft family. MLS adds Dallas, Denver and Kansas City to its existing roster of cities for the 1996 season, giving the league 10 teams for its initial year.
October 11, 1995: The Kansas City Wiz names Ron Newman as their head coach, the first coach hired by a Major League Soccer team. The remaining MLS head coaches are named during the next three months.
October 17, 1995: MLS hosts the gala celebration MLS Unveiled at the Palladium in New York City by unveiling uniforms, logos and colors for all 10 teams.
November 21, 1995: MLS announces its first commissioner with the appointment of long-time sports and entertainment executive Douglas G. Logan. In addition, Univision becomes the official Spanish-language broadcaster of MLS.
January 5, 1996: MLS begins its first-ever Player Combine, bringing more than 250 players to Irvine, California, from January 5-15 to be evaluated by MLS coaches.
February 6, 1996: MLS conducts its first player draft at the Hotel Inter-Continental in New York City. Brian McBride is the first player drafted, by the Columbus Crew.
February 13, 1996: The MLS Management Committee announces that MLS games which end in a tie after regulation will go directly to a shootout and that MLS will award three points for a win in regulation, one point for a shootout win and zero points for a loss.
April 6, 1996: MLS opens its inaugural season at San Jose’s Spartan Stadium in front of an overflow crowd of 31,683. The Inaugural Game sees the San Jose Clash defeat D.C. United 1-0 on Eric Wynalda’s dramatic 88th-minute goal. The game is broadcast live to a national television audience on ESPN.
May 15, 1996: D.C. United forward Steve Rammel becomes the first MLS player to record a hat trick in a 5-2 victory over Columbus at RFK Stadium. In the same game, Marco Etcheverry becomes the first MLS player to record three assists in a game.
May 22, 1996: After going scoreless for the first 80 minutes, Fiorentina of Italy's Serie A defeats the New England Revolution 2-0 at Foxboro Stadium in the first-ever international exhibition for an MLS team.
June 1, 1996: MLS welcomes its 1 millionth fan as seven-year-old Falke Verwer walks through the turnstiles at San Jose’s Spartan Stadium. MLS passes the 1 million mark in attendance in its 47th game, more than a month ahead of preseason projections.
June 16, 1996: In an historic doubleheader witnessed by 92,216 fans, the U.S. national team plays Mexico for the championship of U.S. Cup ‘96 followed by the conference leaders Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Tampa Bay Mutiny at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The crowd was the largest ever to see a U.S. professional soccer league match.
July 14, 1996: MLS holds its first-ever All-Star Game in conjunction with a game matching the FIFA All-Stars vs. Brazil. The games are played in front of 78,416 fans at Giants Stadium.
September 24, 1996: The first MLS playoff game is played as the MetroStars defeat D.C. United in a shootout at Giants Stadium.
October 20, 1996: D.C. United wins the first-ever MLS Cup, defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 in sudden-death overtime at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
February 14, 1997: The Sports Business Daily names Major League Soccer its 1996 Sports Industrialist of the Year.
March 22, 1997: MLS opens its second season as the San Jose Clash host the MetroStars at Spartan Stadium.
April 9, 1997: MLS announces that the league will expand to Chicago and South Florida for the 1998 season, giving the league 12 teams.
June 21, 1997: D.C. United loses at the Kansas City Wizards 6-1, ending an MLS record 22-game unbeaten streak in regulation dating back to 1996.
July 9, 1997: Tampa Bay Mutiny midfielder Carlos Valderrama wins his second consecutive MLS Most Valuable Player honor at the 1997 MLS All-Star Game at Giants Stadium.
October 26, 1997: D.C. United defeats the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in front of a capacity crowd of 57,431 rain-soaked fans at RFK Stadium in MLS Cup ‘97.
March 15, 1998: MLS kicks off its third season as D.C. United defeats the expansion Miami Fusion 2-0.
April 23, 1998: U.S. Pro-40 Select, the Nike Project-40 team that competed in the A-League, makes its debut with a 3-2 shootout loss at the El Paso Patriots.
May 6, 1998: Cobi Jones’ hat trick and Welton’s two goals and two assists lead Los Angeles to a 7-4 win over the Colorado Rapids, the highest scoring game (11 combined goals) in MLS history.
August 2, 1998: The MLS USA All-Stars defeat the MLS World All-Stars 6-1 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, highlighting the league’s All-Star weekend in Central Florida.
August 14, 1998: The Columbus Crew breaks ground on the club’s 22,555-seat soccer-specific venue, Columbus Crew Stadium. In addition, Major League Soccer awards the 2000 MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup 2001 to the City of Columbus.
August 17, 1998: D.C. United wins the CONCACAF Champions' Cup with a 1-0 victory against Mexican first division club Toluca at RFK Stadium.
August 29, 1998: Nancy Lay and Sandra Hunt make their debuts as the first female referees in MLS history.
October 6, 1998: The Tampa Bay Mutiny announce that the club will play at Raymond James Stadium in 1999.
October 25, 1998: The Chicago Fire puts an end to D.C. United's reign over Major League Soccer, winning MLS Cup ‘98 2-0, before 51,350 fans at the Rose Bowl. Five days later, on Oct. 30, the Fire joins United as the second MLS team in three years to capture the American “double,” defeating Columbus 2-1 in the U.S. Open Cup Final.
December 5, 1998: D.C. United adds to their haul of continental honors, becoming the first U.S. club to ever win the InterAmerican Cup with a 2-0 victory against Brazilian power Vasco da Gama at Lockhart Stadium. The two-time MLS Cup champions claim the title of “Champion of the Americas” by winning the matchup of the North and South American club titlists. United wins the Cup on aggregate goals 2-1, with Vasco winning 1-0 on Nov. 14 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
March 20, 1999: Major League Soccer kicks off its fourth season with a slate of five games.
May 15, 1999: An overflow crowd of 24,471 sees the Columbus Crew defeat the New England Revolution 2-0 in the first Major League Soccer game ever played at Columbus Crew Stadium. The 22,555-seat facility is the first major league stadium built specifically for Division I pro soccer in the United States.
July 17, 1999: Kansas City midfielder Preki scores two goals and an assist to earn MasterCard MVP honors as the West defeats the East 6-4 in the 1999 MLS All-Star game held in San Diego, Calif.
August 4, 1999: Major League Soccer names Don Garber as its new Commissioner to oversee all business operations of the 12-team league at its headquarters in New York City. Garber comes to MLS after spending 16 years with the National Football League.
August 17, 1999: Major League Soccer signs legendary German defender Lothar Matthäus to a contract. The 1999 German Player of the Year will play for the MetroStars in the 2000 season.
October 3, 1999: Jason Kreis nets five points in a 4-3 Dallas victory against Los Angeles. Kreis, the eventual 1999 Budweiser scoring champion, becomes the first Major League Soccer player to record 15 goals and 15 assists in one season.
November 17, 1999: Commissioner Don Garber outlines a series of changes in Major League Soccer for the 2000 season and beyond. The most comprehensive television package in MLS history is unveiled, featuring “Soccer Saturdays” on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 and a weekly highlight show on Monday nights on ESPN2. The controversial shootout was also dropped, with two five-minute sudden-death overtimes to be played before ties are counted. The official time will be kept on the field by the referee and shown on the scoreboard in conventional 0:00 to 90:00 style. Additionally, MLS realigns to a three-division format (Eastern, Central and Western).
November 21, 1999: D.C. United extends its dynasty in Major League Soccer with a 2-0 victory against Los Angeles at MLS Cup ’99 at Foxboro Stadium in front of 44,910 fans.
February 18, 2000: D.C. United defeats the MetroStars 3-2 to win the MLS Spring Training 2000 tournament. All 12 teams gather at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. for three exhibition games each.
March 18, 2000: Major League Soccer kicks off its fifth season with eight of the 12 teams in action.
March 18, 2000: The Miami Fusion and the New England Revolution battle to a 1-1 draw at Lockhart Stadium, the first such result in Major League Soccer history.
April 19, 2000: Boston Federal Court Judge George A. O'Toole dismisses the heart of the players' antitrust case against Major League Soccer and upholds MLS' "single entity" defense. The Court rules that it is not unlawful for MLS to require that all players be signed by the League, not individual teams.
May 16, 2000: Mexican national team all-time leading scorer Luis Hernández is signed by MLS and allocated to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
July 29, 2000: The East defeats the West 9-4 in front of an overflow crowd at Columbus Crew Stadium. The 13 goals are one of many offensive All-Star records broken.
October 15, 2000: The Kansas City Wizards defeat the Chicago Fire 1-0 to win MLS Cup 2000 at RFK Stadium.
December 11, 2000: After a 12-week trial, a Federal Court jury in Boston unanimously finds that MLS is not an illegal monopoly, as the lawyers for the soccer players had claimed.
January 10, 2001: Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), the business operations and marketing arm of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, enters into an agreement to become the operator of the San Jose Earthquakes.
January 21, 2001: The Los Angeles Galaxy defeats CD Olimpia of Honduras 3-2 to win the CONCACAF Champions' Cup and advance to the FIFA Club World Championship. FIFA later announces on May 18 that the tournament has been postponed.
February 15, 2001: Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc. (AEG) enters into an agreement to become the operator of three-time MLS Cup Champion D.C. United.
March 6, 2001: D.C. United announces that it will become the first MLS club to field an under-14 boys team in the USL’s Super Y-League. Shortly after, the Chicago Fire (March 15), MetroStars (March 21) and New England Revolution (April 17) later announce similar youth development programs.
March 29, 2001: Major League Soccer announces that 19-year-old Landon Donovan has signed a four-year loan deal with the League and will join the San Jose Earthquakes from Bayer Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga.
April 7, 2001: Major League Soccer season begins its sixth regular season. For the first time in league history, 12 teams take the field on opening day.
July 28, 2001: Spartan Stadium in San Jose hosts the sixth annual MLS All-Star Game. Fan favorite Landon Donovan of the hometown Earthquakes becomes the first player in league history to score an All-Star hat trick and later adds his fourth goal of the match in stoppage time to knot the score at 6-6.
September 11, 2001: In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C and Pennsylvania, MLS Commissioner Don Garber postpones four regular season matches scheduled for Wed., Sept. 12. Two days later, Garber cancels all 10 remaining regular season matches. Postseason seeding for the MLS Cup Playoffs would be determined using a points-per-game system based on the league standings as of September 11.
October 21, 2001: A sudden-death overtime goal from substitute Dwayne De Rosario gives the San Jose Earthquakes their first Major League Soccer championship as they defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 at Columbus Crew Stadium.
November 21, 2001: Anschutz Entertainment Group, Inc. (AEG) assumes the operating rights of the MetroStars from John Kluge and Stuart Subotnick of Metromedia. With the move, AEG becomes the investor-operator of five MLS teams.
January 2, 2002: MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces the details of an innovative five-year broadcast arrangement with the ABC and ESPN Networks that includes the television rights of Major League Soccer through 2006 and the next two FIFA World Cup tournaments (2002 and 2006). The deal also includes the television rights to the 2003 Women’s World Cup.
January 8, 2002: MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces that the Tampa Bay Mutiny and the Miami Fusion will immediately cease operations. The decision to close both teams was made unanimously by the MLS Board of Governors, after a comprehensive strategic review of the League's operations. Additionally, the League announced that the Anschutz Entertainment Group has exercised its option to become the investor-operator of D.C. United.
January 11, 2002: In order to distribute the players formerly with the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion, MLS holds allocation and dispersal Drafts in midtown Manhattan. Pablo Mastroeni is the first overall selection in the allocation Draft. A total of 20 players are selected on the day in addition to three picks in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft that were previously held by the Mutiny and Fusion.
February 26, 2002: Anschutz Entertainment Group, in conjunction with Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy break ground on the team’s new 27,000-seat stadium on the campus of California State University-Dominguez Hills. The stadium will be part of an 85-acre sports complex that will include a national training center for the U.S. Soccer Federation.
March 5, 2002: MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces the formation of Soccer United Marketing (SUM), a subsidiary company set up to manage sales, service and broadcast production for MLS and English-language World Cup properties, as well as operate international matches on U.S. soil.
March 20, 2002: The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirms the summary judgment and jury verdict in favor of Major League Soccer and the United States Soccer Federation in the MLS player lawsuit, effectively ending the suit filed in 1997.
March 23, 2002: Major League Soccer kicks off its seventh regular season with a 10-team schedule for the first time since 1997.
April 22, 2002: U.S. national team head coach Bruce Arena selects his final 23-man roster for 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. Included in his selections are 12 players competing in Major League Soccer.
May 15, 2002: Sports Illustrated magazine hits the newsstands featuring MetroStars and U.S. national team forward Clint Mathis, who becomes the first MLS athlete to grace the publication’s cover. Mathis is the first male soccer player featured on the magazine’s cover since Earnie Stewart (1994). Later, Mathis, Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley appear on the cover of ESPN The Magazine (June 10), marking that publication’s first ever use of soccer as a cover subject.
May 24, 2002: The MetroStars and the New England Revolution complete the largest trade in MLS history, exchanging six players in a deal that sees the MetroStars swap forward Diego Serna, defender Brian Kamler and midfielder Daniel Hernandez for Revolution forward Mamadou Diallo, midfielder Andy Williams and defender Ted Chronopoulos.
June 5, 2002: The United States surprises the world with a 3-2 victory against Portugal in their FIFA World Cup opener in Suwon, Korea. Forward Brian McBride scores the eventual game-winner, becoming the first U.S. player to ever score in multiple World Cup tournaments.
June 17, 2002: In a battle between CONCACAF rivals, the U.S. defeats Mexico 2-0 for the country's first-ever victory in the knockout stage. McBride scores his second goal of the tournament and Donovan adds an insurance goal to outdistance Mexico.
June 21, 2002: Germany puts an end to the U.S. national team’s World Cup run in a 1-0 match in the quarterfinals.
June 22, 2002: ESPN experience record ratings figures with the U.S. national team's run to the World Cup quarterfinals. ESPN's morning telecast of the U.S. vs. Germany quarterfinal match on June 21, seen in an average of 3.77 million television homes based on a 4.36 rating, is the network's most-watched and highest-rated soccer telecast ever.
June 25, 2002: After an impressive display with the U.S. national team at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, Major League Soccer’s best U.S. players return home to widespread national media attention. On this day alone, players appear on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Live! With Regis and Kelly and MTV’s Total Request Live. Stars such as Clint Mathis and Landon Donovan also appear on the The Daily Show and Late Night with David Letterman. One of the most memorable moments of the tour occurs when Letterman prompts the mohawked Mathis to launch a ball across Broadway from the rooftop of the Ed Sullivan Theater in midtown Manhattan.
July 9, 2002: AEG and The Home Depot announce a 10-year partnership surrounding the multi-sport National Training Center being constructed on the campus of Cal State University-Dominguez Hills. In addition to becoming the facility’s title sponsor, the world's largest home improvement retailer also pledges to support the construction of the 85-acre, $130 million sports campus that includes a 27,000-seat soccer stadium.
August 3, 2002: The MLS 2002 Pepsi All-Stars and more than 31,000 fans weather a drenching thunderstorm that halts play for nearly an hour as the MLS All-Stars defeat the U.S. national team 3-2 at RFK Stadium.
August 14, 2002: Major League Soccer announces that it has entered into a partnership with Radio Unica that will provide unprecedented Spanish-language radio coverage for the League.
September 21, 2002: Legendary MetroStars midfielder Tab Ramos plays in the final MLS game of his seven-year career with the team. Also celebrating his 36th birthday, Ramos exits the field in tears after a 3-0 blanking at the hands of the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
October 20, 2002: Carlos Ruiz nets a golden goal in sudden death overtime as the Los Angeles Galaxy capture their first MLS Cup championship with a dramatic 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium before an MLS Cup Playoffs record attendance of 61,316.
November 2002: International stars Carlos Valderrama and Peter Nowak retire following the season. Valderrama, recognized in his native Colombia as the Player of the Century, finishes his career as the MLS career leader in assists.
December 18, 2002: MLS and Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen announce that an agreement has been reached that will allow forward Landon Donovan to remain with the League's San Jose Earthquakes through the end of the 2004 MLS season, ending speculation that the U.S. soccer icon would return to the German Bundesliga.
December 20, 2002: The San Jose Earthquakes and Major League Soccer announce that AEG has exercised its option to become the sole investor-operator of the team, after working in partnership with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment during the 2002 season. SVS&E operated the Earthquakes from January 2001.
January 17, 2003: D.C. United selects Alecko Eskandarian No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft – for the first time held in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in Kansas City.
January 15 and 28, 2003: U.S. national team standouts Earnie Stewart and Joe-Max Moore return stateside to play in MLS. Stewart will make his MLS debut with D.C. United while Moore returns to the New England Revolution.
February 19, 2003: Cobi Jones (with girlfriend Shannon Foster) and Brian McBride (with wife Dina) become the first American male soccer players to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
April 1, 2003: Fox Sports International reaches a four-year agreement with MLS to nationally televise at least 25 regular-season games and at least eight playoff games per season on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports en Español. The agreement will also extend the broadcasts to Fox affiliated networks in Latin America and the Middle East.
April 2, 2003: MLS and the Dallas-based Hunt Sports Group announce that the Frisco Independent School District, the City of Frisco, Collin County and HSG have entered an historic partnership, agreeing to build a $65 million soccer-specific stadium and soccer complex in Frisco, just north of Dallas.
April 4 and 5, 2003: Two ‘founders’ of MLS announce their retirement from the sport. Defender Marcelo Balboa and midfielder John Harkes, both former U.S. national team stars, end their stellar professional careers.
April 4, 2003: MLS and HDNet announce a three-year agreement to broadcast live HDTV coverage of MLS games. “MLS on HDNet” brings the first MLS nationally televised broadcast in high-definition and features 28 consecutive Saturday contests.
April 5, 2003: Carlos Ruiz nets the equalizer for Los Angeles Galaxy as they tie the Columbus Crew 1-1 at Columbus Crew Stadium on the eighth Opening Day in MLS history.
April 17, 2003: The Major League Soccer Players' Union (MLSPU) is designated by the MLS players to serve as their exclusive bargaining representative. Following this designation, the MLSPU sends the League a request for recognition. In accordance with the National Labor Relations Act, MLS recognizes the MLSPU.
May 7, 2003: MLS along with its member teams, official suppliers and fans kick off an “Iraqi Aid” soccer ball and equipment donation program in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Columbus, New York, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, San Jose and Washington, D.C. MLS and AEG Soccer coordinate efforts to secure 10,000 soccer balls and additional equipment such as shoes, shirts and shorts for the children of Iraq.
May 8, 2003: The U.S. national team, made up with an entirely MLS-based roster, and Mexico battle to an intense 0-0 draw in front of 69,582 fans at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The match was the first between the two nations since their historic 2002 World Cup encounter.
May 26, 2003: MLS Commissioner Don Garber is part of the delegation that travels to FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland to support U.S. Soccer’s campaign to bring the 2003 Women’s World Cup to the United States. After the SARS outbreak forced FIFA to move the World Cup out of China, the United States secures the right to host the event.
June 7, 2003: In front of a sellout crowd of 27,000, the Los Angeles Galaxy defeat the Colorado Rapids by the score of 2-0 in the inaugural match at the state-of-the-art The Home Depot Center. World soccer legend Pele also takes the field to a rousing standing ovation as he participates in the ceremonial first kick.
July 14, 2003: MetroStars superstar goalkeeper Tim Howard transfers to world-renowned English Premier League club Manchester United. Howard would play his first game for United on his one-time home field of Giants Stadium, defeating Juventus 4-1 on July 31.
July 24, 2003: MLS launches its official 4-v-4 soccer tournament: MLS Futbolito, a grassroots program targeting the League’s Hispanic fan base. Staged as an all-day event in nine of 10 MLS markets plus Houston, Texas, the national MLS Futbolito features the presence of legendary midfielder Carlos Valderrama as the official MLS Ambassador.
August 2, 2003: The eighth annual MLS All-Star Game brings together the best players in MLS and one of the top clubs in Mexico as part of a new format for the exhibition. The best of MLS defeat CD Guadalajara 3-1 in the 2003 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game at The Home Depot Center.
September 23, 2003: Kroenke Sports Enterprises purchases the Colorado Rapids from AEG and announces that the team will play in a new stadium. KSE, which is headed by Stan Kroenke, is a company that also owns the NBA Denver Nuggets, the NHL Colorado Avalanche, the NLL Colorado Mammoth, the Pepsi Center and has a stake in the AFL Colorado Crush. Kroenke Sports also becomes an investor in Soccer United Marketing.
October 15, 2003: The Chicago Fire earn a 1-0 victory against the MetroStars and the championship of the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Giants Stadium.
November 19, 2003: MLS announces the signing of 14-year-old soccer prodigy Freddy Adu to a multi-year contract. One of the most recognized young soccer players in the world, the U.S. under-17 national team star turned down lucrative offers from prestigious European clubs to sign with the League.
November 21, 2003: MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces Chivas owner Jorge Vergara has finalized an agreement with MLS, signing a letter of intent to enter the League in 2005.
November 23, 2003: The San Jose Earthquakes defeat the Chicago Fire 4-2 in MLS Cup 2003 in front of a capacity crowd at The Home Depot Center.
November, 2003: International stars Marco Etcheverry (Bolivia), Mauricio Cienfuegos (El Salvador) and Hristo Stoitchkov (Bulgaria) retire from MLS following the season.
December 8, 2003: Soccer United Marketing (SUM) Chief Executive Officer and MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces the multi-year acquisition of the marketing, promotional and broadcast rights in the United States for InterLiga™, a new qualifying tournament that will determine the automatic berths for Mexican clubs to the Copa Libertadores.
January 16, 2004: The youngest player in modern professional team sports, 14-year-old Freddy Adu, is selected by D.C. United with the No. 1 selection in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.
January 25, 2004: After months of reviewing stadium proposals from more than 20 Chicagoland communities, AEG President and CEO Timothy J. Leiweke and Chicago Fire General Manager Peter Wilt announce that they have signed an agreement with the Village of Bridgeview to build a world-class soccer stadium.
January 27, 2004: Former United States national team member and seven-year MLS veteran Alexi Lalas is named president and general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes, becoming the first former player to serve as president of an MLS team.
February 18, 2004: The Dallas Burn host the official groundbreaking ceremony for their new stadium and entertainment complex in Frisco, Texas, developed by Hunt Sports Group.
March 4, 2004: "The 100", the top 100 living footballers are selected by FIFA and include Galaxy defender Hong Myung-Bo and former MLS participants Lothar Matthaeus (MetroStars), Hugo Sanchez (Dallas Burn), Hristo Stoitchkov (Chicago Fire, D.C. United) and Carlos Valderrama (Tampa Bay Mutiny, Miami Fusion and Colorado Rapids).
March 24, 2004: Major League Soccer announces that MLS regular-season contests will no longer feature overtime periods when games are tied after 90 minutes. The League also abandons the 3 + 1 (goalkeeper) substitution rule, instead allowing a team only three substitutions per game.
April 3, 2004: Major League Soccer's ninth season kicks off with five games. The first game, nationally televised on ABC, matching San Jose against D.C. United. Freddy Adu comes on as a substitute, becoming the youngest player in the modern era of U.S. professional team sports.
May 5, 2004: Eric Wynalda and Paul Caligiuri become the first MLS players elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, joining U.S. women’s national team legend Michelle Akers in the 2004 class of inductees.
July 14, 2004: Salt Lake City, Utah is awarded an MLS expansion team, which will join Chivas USA as an expansion team for the League’s 10th year.
July 27, 2004: Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) and officials of Commerce City, Colo. announce plans for a new soccer-specific stadium to become the new home of the Colorado Rapids in spring 2007. The stadium plans also call for youth soccer fields, retail development and a new Commerce City civic center.
July 31, 2004: Amado Guevara scores twice to lead the East to a 3-2 victory against the West in the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
August 2, 2004: Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, Jorge Vergara, owner of Mexican club CD Guadalajara (Chivas), and his business partner Antonio Cue, announce that Vergara's expansion team, Chivas USA, will be located in Los Angeles and share fields at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The addition of the 11th MLS team gives the League its first true intra-city rivalry, or “derby.”
August 12, 2004: Hunt Sports Group announces that, upon completion of the 2004 season, the Dallas-based MLS team name will change from Dallas Burn to FC Dallas.
September 22, 2004: The Kansas City Wizards thwart the Chicago Fire's attempt to become only the sixth club to win four or more U.S. Open Cup titles, defeating them 1-0 in extra time in the final.
October 9, 2004: Major League Soccer’s Utah-based expansion team unveils its globally-inspired name, Real Salt Lake, as well as its new logo, colors and identity.
November 10, 2004: Major League Soccer, Soccer United Marketing and adidas formally announce an exclusive 10-year partnership agreement granting adidas the official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier for the USA's Division I professional league. The partnership incorporates every aspect of the game, from product creation, to grassroots programs, television rights and retail distribution.
November 11, 2004: Major League Soccer and Major League Soccer’s Players' Union reach agreement on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the first in League history, to run through the end of the 2009 season.
November 14, 2004: Major League Soccer announces that its rosters will expand for the 2005 season. Overall roster size will expand from 24 to 28 and the number of international players allowed on each team will increase. Additionally, teams will be held to three transitional internationals, and the limit on senior internationals will increase from three to four. Those transitional international spots are eligible to be traded among teams.
November 14, 2004: D.C. United scores three goals in a seven-minute period during the first half of MLS Cup 2004 to defeat Kansas City 3-2, winning their fourth MLS Cup in a nine-year span before a crowd of 25,767 at The Home Depot Center.
November 17, 2004: Real Salt Lake, Major League Soccer's 12th team, introduce Jason Kreis, Major League Soccer's all-time leading goal scorer, as the expansion team's iconic first player.
November 19, 2004: Major League Soccer holds an expansion draft to field teams for the two expansion clubs, Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake. The 10-round draft sees midfielders Arturo Torres and Andy Williams picked as the No. 1 selections by Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake respectively.
December 9, 2004: Kansas City Wizards owner Lamar Hunt announces that the team is for sale. Hunt states his preference that the team remains in Kansas City, but that he will look into relocation if no local ownership group steps forward. Funds for a soccer-specific stadium will be a key requirement for any proposal.
January 6, 2005: MLS, in partnership with adidas, inaugurates the Generation adidas player development program to help find and develop the most promising young soccer talent in the United States in a professional environment. This partnership replaces the Nike Project-40 program.
January 14, 2005: Real Salt Lake selects 16-year-old Nik Besagno with the first pick of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft. Besagno is the second youngest player ever to be drafted into MLS. Chivas USA, the league’s other expansion team, uses its first pick (second overall) to select goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
February 21, 2005: The MetroStars make a splash on the international transfer market by signing French World Cup legend Youri Djorkaeff.
March 30, 2005: Landon Donovan returns to MLS. After a brief reunion with Bayer Leverkusen, the club that signed him as a teenager, Donovan decides to return home to southern California, signing with MLS to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy had traded forward Carlos Ruiz to FC Dallas in exchange for the allocation used to acquire Donovan.
April 2, 2005: MLS kicks off its 10th season with six opening day matches. Chivas USA plays host to D.C. United in its first-ever game, losing 2-0. In the Meadowlands, Real Salt Lake plays its inaugural game, drawing 0-0 with the MetroStars.
April 9, 2005: MLS inaugurates its Reserve Division with its first official reserve game, a 2-0 victory by Chivas USA against the host San Jose Earthquakes.
April 23, 2005: The Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA meet up in the league’s first ever intra-city derby, or ‘clasico’. The Galaxy win the game 3-1 before a sold-out crowd in The Home Depot Center. The League also celebrates its 25 millionth fan at the game, Jorge Larios of Downey, Calif.
July 30, 2005: The MLS All-Stars defeat Fulham FC of the English Premier League 4-1 in the 10th annual MLS All-Star Game at sold-out Columbus Crew Stadium. The game kicks off a month of high-profile friendlies between European teams and MLS, with D.C. United facing Chelsea, the Chicago Fire playing AC Milan and the Los Angeles Galaxy playing Real Madrid.
August 6, 2005: Pizza Hut Park, the third soccer-specific stadium in MLS, hosts its first official FC Dallas game.
August 16, 2005: Mexican legend Francisco Palencia and rising star Juan Pablo García join Chivas USA.
August 23, 2005: An MLS All-Star selection is invited to Spain to play Real Madrid in their season-opening Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu game.
September 23, 2005: D.C. United loses in heartbreaking fashion to Chile’s Universidad Catolica in the League's first-ever participation in Copa Sudamericana. After a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first leg and taking a 2-0 second-leg lead, United surrenders three goals to lose on aggregate.
September 28, 2005: Kroenke Sports Enterprises celebrates the official groundbreaking of the Colorado Rapids’ new soccer-specific stadium. Located in Commerce City, just outside Denver, the stadium will serve as the cornerstone for one of the world’s largest soccer complex.
October 16, 2005: D.C. United clinches the first MLS Reserve Division title, with an overall record of 8-4-0.
November 11, 2005: To cap off the celebration of its 10th season, MLS announces an All-Time Best XI: Tony Meola, Marcelo Balboa, Jeff Agoos, Eddie Pope, Carlos Valderrama, Peter Nowak, Marco Etcheverry, Landon Donovan, Preki, Brian McBride and Jaime Moreno.
November 13, 2005: The Los Angeles Galaxy defeat New England 1-0 on Guillermo Ramirez's overtime goal to win their second MLS Cup before a standing-room-only crowd at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The victory gives Los Angeles a domestic double as they also captured the U.S. Open Cup with a victory against FC Dallas.
December 15, 2005: After an extended period of failed negotiations to find a suitable venue and ownership group for the San Jose Earthquakes, Major League Soccer announces that the team will relocate to Houston starting in 2006. The Earthquakes name and records remain in San Jose in the hopes that an MLS team returns to the Bay Area.
January 20, 2006: The MetroStars select Marvell Wynne, the son of former Major League Baseball player Marvell Wynne, Sr., as the first player taken in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft.
March 7, 2006: A Carlos Ruiz bicycle kick from May 28, 2005 against D.C. United beats out 29 competitors to take the Goal of the Decade honor, as selected by fans on MLSnet.com.
March 9, 2006: The MLS Board of Governors approves the sale of the MetroStars to Austrian energy drink company Red Bull Ltd. The name of the organization is changed to Red Bull New York, with the team to be known as the New York Red Bulls, and a new logo and new colors are unveiled.
March 9, 2006: While returning from Costa Rica having seen his team play in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, Los Angeles Galaxy president and general manager Doug Hamilton passes away at the age of 43.
April 1-2, 2006: The 11th season of Major League Soccer kicks off with a full slate of six games, three on Saturday and three on Sunday. Houston Dynamo begin their history by downing Colorado 5-2 as Brian Ching scores four goals.
May 2, 2006: Eleven players who are members of Major League Soccer teams are part of the USA's 23-man roster for the 2006 World Cup. In addition, four other MLS players will travel to Germany with the national teams of Costa Rica, Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago.
May 11, 2006: The League's 13th team is unveiled as Toronto FC will begin play in the 2007 season. Operated by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and Toronto Raptors (NBA), the team will play at a new 20,000-seat stadium being constructed at Exhibition Place in Toronto (later named BMO Field). The venue will also serve as the home for the Canadian national team.
July 18, 2006: Days after his contract is not renewed as manager of the U.S. men's national team, Bruce Arena is introduced as head coach of the New York Red Bulls.
July 27, 2006: MLS announces a five-year deal with Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español, which includes a return of the Saturday night MLS Game of the Week.
August 4, 2006: As part of his State of the League address, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces a landmark, 8-year agreement with ESPN and ABC. The deal includes MLS Primetime Thursday, a single game broadcast on Thursday nights.
August 5, 2006: The MLS All-Stars defeat world power Chelsea FC of England 1-0 in the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game at sold-out Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
August 12, 2006: Players from Real Madrid help their counterparts from Real Salt Lake break ground for the new soccer-specific stadium to be built in Sandy, Utah. Later that night, Real Madrid defeats RSL 2-0. On the same day, FC Barcelona defeats the New York Red Bulls 4-1 at sold-out Giants Stadium. Three days earlier, in Seattle, Real Madrid and D.C. United play to a 1-1 draw.
August 28, 2006: Investor-operator Philip Anschutz and MLS player and executive Alexi Lalas are inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
October 5, 2006: U.S. national team assistant coach and former Colorado Rapids head coach Glenn Myernick dies of a heart attack at age 51.
September 19, 2006: After seven years of negotiations, ground is broken in Harrison, N.J. for a new soccer-specific stadium that will be home to the New York Red Bulls.
September 25, 2006: MLS announces an eight-year partnership with Univision and its family of Spanish-language channels. Coverage in 2007 will include a game of the week on Sundays.
November 12, 2006: Houston Dynamo defeat the New England Revolution in MLS Cup 2006. In the first MLS Cup Final to be decided on penalty kicks, both teams scored goals in extra time and remained deadlocked at 1-1 after 120 minutes of play.
December 12, 2006: After a long battle with cancer, MLS founding investor Lamar Hunt passes away at age 74.
January 11, 2007: The Los Angeles Galaxy and AEG announce they have signed English icon David Beckham to a five-year contract. It is the first use of the League's new “Designated Player” rule, which allows teams to sign players without regard to salary cap limits, having just $400,000 count toward the team salary budget in 2007.
January 12, 2007: The MLS SuperDraft is held at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Maurice Edu of the University of Maryland is taken first overall by Toronto FC.
January 13, 2007: The formation of SuperLiga, a tournament matching four teams from MLS and four teams from Mexico's Primera Division for the championship of North America, is announced.
January 24, 2007: Red Bull New York sign former U.S. men’s national team captain and Manchester City midfielder Claudio Reyna as the team’s first Designated Player. The move reunites Reyna with Bruce Arena, his former coach at the University of Virginia and the U.S. national team.
April 2, 2007: More than 5,000 fans flock to Toyota Park to see longtime Mexican national team and Club America star Cuauhtémoc Blanco on the eve of his signing with the Chicago Fire as a Designated Player. Fire captain Chris Armas presents Blanco with the No. 10 jersey he will wear upon joining the team in July after completing his contract with Club America.
April 2, 2007: MLS launches MLS W.O.R.K.S., a league-wide community outreach initiative dedicated to addressing important social issues affecting young people.
April 7, 2007: The 2007 season kicks off at the Colorado Rapids’ new home, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the fifth soccer stadium to be custom built for an MLS team. The Rapids defeat D.C. United 2-1. The same day, Toronto FC plays the first game in club history, dropping a 2-0 decision to host Chivas USA.
April 17, 2007: Colombian international and Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Ángel signs with Red Bull New York as the team’s second Designated Player.
April 28, 2007: A raucous, standing-room only crowd witnesses the first official MLS match in Canada at Toronto FC’s new soccer stadium, BMO Field. The Kansas City Wizards defeat the home side 1-0.
July 14, 2007: New England Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston collects his 115th career assist in a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. Ralston surpasses Colombian great Carlos Valderrama as the League’s all-time assist leader.
July 18, 2007: MLS Commissioner Don Garber announces the return of the San Jose Earthquakes to MLS under the ownership of Lew Wolff and John Fisher, also part of the Oakland A’s ownership group. The Earthquakes will begin play as an expansion team in 2008 and become the League’s 14th team.
July 19, 2007: The MLS All-Stars defeat Celtic FC 2-0 in the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
July 21, 2007: Midfielder David Beckham makes his LA Galaxy debut against Chelsea FC in front of a sold-out, star-studded crowd of 27,000 at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy lose 1-0.
July 24, 2007: The inaugural SuperLiga tournament kicks off as FC Dallas hold Mexican giant Chivas de Guadalajara to a 1-1 draw at Pizza Hut Park and the Los Angeles Galaxy defeat regional champion CF Pachuca 2-1 at The Home Depot Center.
August 9, 2007: David Beckham makes his MLS debut against D.C. United at RFK Stadium. United defeat the Galaxy 1-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 46,686.
August 18, 2007: More than 66,000 fans at Giants Stadium witness the New York Red Bulls defeat the LA Galaxy 5-4. David Beckham records his first MLS start as well as two assists in the loss; New York’s Juan Pablo Angel scores two goals, including the game-winner.
August 22, 2007: D.C. United and MLS Original Jaime Moreno scores his 109th career goal in a game against the New York Red Bulls, breaking the MLS career goal-scoring record previously held by Jason Kreis.
August 23, 2007: FC Dallas aim to bring Brazilian flair to MLS by signing World Cup champion Denilson as the fifth Designated Player to join an MLS club.
August 29, 2007: With a $1 million prize at stake, the first SuperLiga Final features a rematch of group play with CF Pachuca taking on the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Despite a stoppage time equalizer by the home side, Pachuca outlasts the Galaxy in a penalty kick tiebreaker to claim the title.
November 9, 2007: MLS grants Seattle an expansion team that will begin play in 2009. The League’s 15th team will play at Qwest Field, the home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The team’s ownership group includes Seahawks owner Paul Allen, Hollywood movie studio executive Joe Roth, TV personality Drew Carey and Adrian Hanauer.
November 18, 2007: In a rematch of the 2006 final, Houston Dynamo defeat the New England Revolution, 2-1, to capture their second consecutive MLS Cup.
December 3, 2007: MLS partners with the top professional leagues in Japan (J-League) and Australia (Hyundai A-League) to bring the Pan Pacific Championship, a new international soccer tournament, to Hawaii in February, 2008.
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