Sports Scholarships

MLS attracts British footballers

England is not the be-all and end-all for footballers. The MLS in America is proving to be an attractive option for many international players. Some are looking for new cultural experiences, while others want to make a new home for themselves and their families. No matter the initial reasoning behind their move, they can all agree that America and playing in the MLS is a different-kind-of-fun.

As many critics claim that the MLS isn’t quality football, LA Galaxy’s Steven Gerrard disagrees and has been impressed with the playing standard. That speaks volumes to the reputation it’s trying to build. Players, like Frank Lampard, are even star-struck with some of his teammates; David Villa and Andrea Pirlo, as are we! The MLS has improved and is only getting bigger in terms of size, popularity, and respect.

Did you know that the MLS is the 6th most attended football league in the world?  The MLS have 20 teams and average 21,109 in attendance. Seattle Sounders have the capacity and the fan base to average a 43,734 attendance (they share an American football stadium with the Seattle Seahawks).

The support and backing the MLS teams get in the States is just as passionate as their British counterparts, but without the negativity. It may be a stereotype of the Americans, but it is true in many cases; they are cheesy, positive, family-friendly people and it is all displayed at the MLS games. Although the chants aren’t always as witty as what you hear in the UK, the supporters groups in the MLS do cause a lot of noise nonetheless. The fans are always behind their team, even when faced with defeat after defeat. The NYCFC fans did not leave the stadium on Sunday even when their team were losing 4-0 with 20 minutes of play still to go. It is true that in America there are many professional sports for fans to be distracted by; when one sports season ends, another begins.

Football in America, and most sports in the States, is more about entertaining and putting on a show in a family-friendly manner. While in Britain, the games are mostly packed with men who may take a son to a game, but it is a very much masculine and testosterone environment that is created. The MLS and America want you to bring not only yourself, but your families as well. The atmosphere that is created at these games is so warm and welcoming for families. As soon as the game gets finished, reporters are on the pitch and the players’ wives, girlfriends, and kids are let on the field. Fans can be let into VIP areas to meet the players, how awesome is that? These games feel more intimate than the average British football game you would get in the EPL or SPFL.

Some of the foreign MLS players did not necessarily come to America to play professional, but instead to attend university on a football scholarship. After having successful individual and team careers, they were drafted right out of university into the MLS, something that does not happen in Britain. Another big difference is that the players sign contracts with the league itself, and have no control over where they get drafted to. It was a roll of the dice for English players like Dom Dwyer, Otis Earle, and Luke Mullholland but too great of an opportunity to pass on. They were picked up by Sporting Kansas FC, FC Dallas, and Real Salt Lake, respectively.

The appreciation that the MLS is getting means it is now in a position to attract big-name players, and even legends. For a recent university graduate, getting the opportunity to even train with any of these big names would be rewarding in itself.  It is exciting for football fans to see which players decide to make the leap across the pond in seasons to come and help better the overall perception of football in the America.

Interested to find out more about university football scholarships in America? Contact Route 1 today to discuss this opportunity

Photos from LA Galaxy vs NYCFC on August 24, 2015

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