Major League Soccer will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season and introduce two new teams to the league. Inter Miami and Nashville SC will begin play and MLS will have 26 teams this term. The two sides are the latest clubs in the league as it moves toward 30 teams over the next few seasons.
The Herrons will kick off their inaugural season as one of the biggest expansion sides in recent memory. The David Beckham-owned team has long been in the making with initial rumours of the club being formed following the ex-Manchester United midfielder’s retirement in 2013.
Inter Miami are not the first MLS club to ever play in the Florida city. The Miami Fusion played in MLS from 1998 to 2001. However, due to financial issues, stadium problems, and fan disinterest, the club was folded by the league. Since the Miami Fusion’s dissolution, football (soccer) has grown immensely in popularity in America. That popularity grew due to Beckham’s arrival with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.
The Herrons are expected to spend some of their wealth this season once the European football season ends. The club has been linked with the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero, and even Lionel Messi.
Nashville is one of the United States’ fastest-growing cities. The success Nashville’s NFL and NHL teams have had with sports fans in the city helped prompt MLS to expand to the Tennessee town. The Yellows will have an immediate regional rivalry with FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew making for some exciting games.
While Inter Miami are building a new stadium called Freedom Park, Nashville SC are in a spot of bother over their venue. Currently, the team will play at the Tennessee Titans’ NFL stadium until a permanent venue can be constructed.
The club’s new stadium was to be built on the site of the city’s old fairgrounds, which are considered a historic venue. Now, MLS is threatening to remove the club from Nashville. It is this soap opera that will see Nashville SC start their life in MLS.
The 25th season of MLS sees 26 teams competing for the MLS Cup. Last season’s winners, the Seattle Sounders, will aim to be only the fourth team to repeat as cup champions. The season kicks off on February 29th.