On MLS expansion, briefly

It’s easy to dismiss the notion of a second MLS team in the Greater Toronto Area as typical Toronto self-centeredness. Except that it kinda sorta makes sense, especially when seen in light of the 2007 U-20 World Cup held in Canada. By all accounts that tournament was a pretty good success, at least in Toronto. That is not to say that a second team should be added now, but it should perhaps be considered in the future.

One thing that is worrisome is MLS’s desire to expand quickly. The ideal number of teams is probably 20; it will have 18 by 2011, with the addition of Philadelphia, Portland, and Vancouver. It needs to be careful now and cultivate the game’s grassroots in English-speaking North America. That means better quality facilities and clarifying the role of youth academies and the NCAA (and the CIS). It also likely means a salary bump for most players, especially those at the bottom. The Canadian Soccer Association also needs to get its act together and work with MLS and the USSF to ensure Canada isn’t left behind.


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