With the additions of Atlanta United and Minnesota United to the league, there are now 22 teams in Major League Soccer. This 2017 season, which began on March 3, is gearing up to be the best one yet.
The quality of players is drastically improving each year, as well as the number of fans and money for stadiums and players. With new draft pick Jackson Yueill and homegrown signing Nick Lima for the San Jose Earthquakes, MLS teams have signed plenty of young talent both domestic and overseas. After a finish last year where they went without making playoffs, a new General Manager and these new players will look to rectify the ship this year.
Many students are excited for the upcoming season. The local team, the San Jose Earthquakes, is in particular set for an exciting season.
“I really like the Earthquakes because they are the hometown team,” said Camryn Borg, freshman.
“Hopefully I’ll get to see Earthquakes win a title. It’s a lot of fun going to games in the new stadium,” said Shun Kato, senior.
Although many in MLS are great team players, the most promising candidates for the MLS rookie of the year seem to be Jose Hernandez, Abu Danladi, Nick Lima, Jonathan Lewis, and Julian Gressel.
Jose Hernandez came through Real Salt Lake’s academy and is a quick, and technical attacking midfielder who should be able to contribute right away. Danladi is one of the fastest forwards in the league and his pace combined with his technical ability will be a nightmare for most MLS defenders.
Nick Lima is a homegrown climbing through the San Jose Earthquakes academy ranks. He is an athletic fullback; a position that the Quakes are looking to upgrade.
San Jose Earthquakes have been extremely active in the offseason and are bringing in top talent that will make a big difference. As for Toronto, they are MLS Cup finalists and are likely to make a strong run again with the likes of Jozy Altidore,Lewis and Gressel are both top draft picks that have the skill and opportunities with their clubs to make an immediate impact. Jonathan Lewis is also a member of the U20 U.S. national team bringing international experience with him.
These teams — Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls, New York City FC, FC Dallas, San Jose Earthquakes, and Toronto FC — are expected to have a positive season. The Chicago Fire will almost surely have a much better year than last year with new talent like US international Dax Mccarty. As for the Red Bulls and NYCFC, they have a combination of promising young talent such as 18 year old Tyler Adams as well as world class veterans like Sacha Kljestan, Pirlo, and David Villa.
Michael Bradley, and Sebastian Giovinco. Leigh students have their own — differing — predictions about the upcoming season.
Senior Shun Kato predicts the Seattle Sounders to win the MLS Cup, while sophomore Anthony Paoli’s bet is placed on Sporting KC.
The MLS is gradually becoming one of the best leagues in the world and for soccer fans in America, it’s certainly a thrilling time to be a part of this growing sport in our country.