If I ran MLS

by Peter Marus

So after watching part of that abortion called the MLS All-Ster Game (turned it off about halftime since the “showcase” game turned myself off of the product), I started thinking what I would do if I ran MLS


First off, The rosters wouldn’t be a mess with the different classifications there are now.  It would work like this:  you have your salary cap, you can sign as may players as you want, but at least to field a starting lineup and full bench.  You can only have at most 5 non-US or Canadian players on your roster.  You can sign up to 3 players under the Designated Player Rule-where their salary doesn’t count against the salary cap but may count to the 5 non-us/Canadian limit.  Then it’s up to the teams to figure out how to handle things.  It’s that simple.


I'd also work with lower division leagues (USL, NASL) to allow MLS reserve/youth academy teams to compete in their leagues to help further develop younger players.  These teams would be ineligible for Cup competitions or lower division championships


The league would still have the revenue sharing and all that stuff.  The League would also give bonuses (more marketing money, preference for hosting Cup finals and All-Star games, more nationally televised games, etc.) to teams that would do the following:


-Success on and off the field

-Signing youth players they develop through their youth academies

-Having players represent the US (or Canada if Canadian based team) national team

-Signing star US players to those Designated player spots-players that require higher salaries to keep them here in the US or Canada


Other things I would do are things like:

-Coordinate with the USSF and Canadian Soccer Federations to ensure that all competitions sanctioned by one or other have the proper scheduling, so that MLS and Cup games do not conflict.

-Require all teams that want to schedule exhibition matches during the league season (regular season, playoffs even if they are not in the playoffs) get league approval first.  So teams don't require league games rescheduled or have teams travel around the world for unnecessary games

-Return the All-star game to a US vs. World format and have it played on a Saturday.  Market the game focusing on local talent on the team and especially the US Stars.  Make this game a real showcase game for the league and to recruit players to come to MLS.

-One League table where everyone plays each other home and away, then top five make playoffs.  Playoffs every round but final are best 2 of 3 format, with penalty kicks if tied after 90 mins. of each game.  fourth and fifth seeded teams face off in first round, to face top seed.  from there, 1 vs. 4/5 seed, 2 vs. 3 seed.  One game final, with golden goal extra time and penalty shootout if needed.

-League shuts down in World Cup years during World Cup, and during CONCACAF Gold Cup.


Some wild ideas I would try to put in by having the fans, players, owners vote for (each get 1/3 vote)


-Apertura/Clausura format like most leagues have in the Western Hemisphere.  Look at Mexico’s setup for an idea but with my format for each tournament

-Zero points for draws.  if two teams tie, they get nothing.  ties are for tiebreakers, where team with LESSER number of ties gets higher seeding.  

-Instead of what I said just above, if two teams tied, it goes to PK shootout.  PK shootout is like going to judges in a fight-you don’t want to put fights in hands of judges, so you don't want to put the game in a PK shootout and lose.



I think if this was how MLS were ran, it would be a better product and more attractive to casual fans and media.