Major League Soccer
MLS new logo
Country Flag of the United States.png United States
Flag of Canada.png Canada
Confederation CONCACAF
Founded December 17, 1993
Divisions Eastern Conference
Western Conference
Number of teams 24
Relegation to None
Level on pyramid 1
Domestic cup(s) U.S. Open Cup, Canadian Championship
CONCACAF cup(s) CONCACAF Champions League
Campeones Cup
Current champions Atlanta United FC (1st title) (2018)
Most successful club LA Galaxy (5 titles)
Fox Sports 1,
UniMás, Univision Deportes,
Website Official website
Football current event 2020 MLS season

Major League Soccer (MLS) is a professional soccer league representing the sport's highest level in both the United States and Canada. MLS constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada. The league is composed of 20 teams—17 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada. The MLS regular season runs from March to October, with each team playing 34 games; the team with the best record is awarded the Supporters' Shield. The post season includes twelve teams competing in the MLS Cup Playoffs through November and December, culminating in the championship game, the MLS Cup. MLS teams also play in other competitions against teams from other divisions and countries, such as the U.S. Open Cup, the Canadian Championship, and the CONCACAF Champions League. MLS is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer).

Major League Soccer was founded in 1993 as part of the United States' successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season took place in 1996 with ten teams. MLS experienced financial and operational struggles in its first few years: The league lost millions of dollars, teams played in mostly empty American football stadiums, and two teams folded in 2002. Since then, MLS has expanded to 24 teams, owners have built soccer-specific stadiums, average attendance at MLS matches exceeds that of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), MLS secured national TV contracts, and the league is now profitable.

Instead of operating as an association of independently owned teams, MLS is a single entity in which each team is owned and controlled by the league's investors. The investor-operators control their teams as owners control teams in other leagues, and are commonly (but inaccurately) referred to as the team's owners. The league's closed membership makes it one of the world's few soccer leagues that does not use promotion and relegation, which is uncommon in North America. MLS headquarters are in New York City.


MLS's 20 teams are divided between the Eastern and Western Conference. Each club is allowed up to 30 players on its first team roster. All 30 players are eligible for selection to each 18-player game-day squad during the regular season and playoffs.

Since the 2005 season, MLS has added many new clubs. During this period of expansion, Los Angeles became the first two-team market, and the league pushed into Canada in 2007. The league will expand from 20 teams today to 22 teams in 2017 with the additions of Atlanta and Los Angeles, and plans to have 24 teams by 2020.

Throughout MLS history, twenty one different clubs have competed in the league, with nine having won at least one MLS Cup, and eight winning at least one Supporters' Shield. The same club has won both trophies six times.

Several teams compete annually for secondary MLS rivalry cups that are typically contested by two teams, usually geographic rivals (e.g., New York vs D.C.). Each cup is awarded to the team with the better regular-season record in games played between the two teams. The concept is comparable to minor trophies played for by American college football teams.

Since the 2015 season, teams are aligned as follows:

  1. Shared facility; not a soccer-specific stadium
  2. Team plans to move into a soccer-specific stadium

External links

US Soccer logo.svg
Flag of the United States United States
US Soccer logo.svg
Major League Soccer 2016 Teams
Eastern Conference

Chicago Fire · Columbus Crew · D.C. United · Montreal Impact · New England Revolution · New York City FC · New York Red Bulls · Orlando City SC · Philadelphia Union · Toronto FC

Western Conference

Colorado Rapids · FC Dallas · Houston Dynamo · LA Galaxy · Portland Timbers · Real Salt Lake · San Jose Earthquakes · Seattle Sounders FC · Sporting KC · Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Major League Soccer seasons

2013 · 2014 · 2015 · 2016 · 2017 · 2018 · 2019 · 2020 ·

Football in the United States
League competitions The USSF Cup competitions
Major League Soccer United States Open Cup
North American Soccer League (U-23) (U-20) (U-17) MLS Cup
United Soccer League List of clubs Southwest Cup
List of stadiums George F. Donnelly Cup
List of leagues
Football in Canada
League competitions CSA Cup competitions
MLS Senior MLS Cup
NASL U23 Soccer Bowl
USL U20 Canadian Championship
PDL U17 Open Cup (defunct)
League1 Ontario League system Challenge Cup
PLSQ History C-NA ST
PCSL Clubs Victoria Challenge Cup (defunct)
USL Super-20 Coaches Canada Games
Top level football leagues of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean (CONCACAF)
North America

Canada · Mexico · United States

Central America

Belize · Costa Rica · El Salvador · Guatemala · Honduras · Nicaragua · Panama


Anguilla · Antigua and Barbuda · Aruba · Bahamas · Barbados · Bermuda · British Virgin Islands · Cayman Islands · Cuba · Dominica · Dominican Republic · French Guiana · Grenada · Guadeloupe · Guyana · Haiti · Jamaica · Martinique · Montserrat · Netherlands Antilles · Puerto Rico · Saint Kitts and Nevis · Saint Lucia · Saint Martin · Saint Vincent and the Grenadines · Sint Maarten · Suriname · Trinidad and Tobago · Turks and Caicos Islands · United States Virgin Islands

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