Do you smell that? Change is in the air.
Soccer pitches are being cut and prepped. Players are anxious. Fans are ready. The 2018 Major League Soccer (MLS) season is about to begin!
So are you ready to be the biggest and best MLS Club supporter? We know you are up to the challenge and we are here to help outfit you with the best soccer knowledge and resources. Who better to provide you with soccer knowledge than us, an official licensee of MLS.
Read on to learn how to be a Major League Soccer fan of your favorite MLS team. The new MLS Season kicks off on March 3, 2018, and concludes on Dec. 8th, with the MLS Cup Final.
First, an introduction to the new MLS Season
What makes the 23rd season of the MLS different?
Well, I’m glad you asked. The biggest change is there is a new team in the league: LAFC. That’s right, L.A. is a town big enough for two basketball teams (the L.A. Clippers and the L.A. Lakers) and two football teams (L.A. Rams and L.A. Chargers), so it is a no-brainer to have two futbol clubs. The 2018 MLS Season will see the debut of the LAFC and you can bet under Coach Bob Bradley that the club will have very high expectations for this inaugural season.
Do you want to be part of the LAFC scene?
If so, there are two options I recommend:
1) Take the plunge and be part of their first match in club history. Fly out from LAX to SEA on March 3rd and cheer on your new favorite west coast club. Delta and Aeromexico have collaborated on an exclusive air experience for the Club’s first match and you can find additional details here.
2) Join a supporters group. Back in October we chronicled LAFC’s Long Beach Chrome and remain impressed with their vision and goals for the local soccer fan community. There is no better way to learn more about the new Los Angeles football club than to be part of the original LAFC Social Club. Read more about the Long Beach Chrome via this link and make sure to follow them on Twitter. A few other great supporter groups to join in L.A. are The Lucky Boys and Relentless. Between those three LAFC groups, you can not go wrong!
What else is new this 2018 MLS Season?
One of the original ten charter clubs of Major League Soccer, D.C. United, will play in their new soccer-specific stadium!
This is a big deal for a club that has tried and failed to secure their own stadium at least twice before. An even bigger deal is that D.C. United will now play in the area of D.C. known as Buzzard Point. A feature they are so proud of that they even put the stadium’s GPS coordinates on their new DC United primary jersey.
Not so fast though, their new state-of-the-art facility does not open until July 14, so don’t book a trip to DC just yet. Follow along with the countdown via the Audi Field website and make sure to experience the new Audi Field in Washington, D.C. sometime before the season is over.
Alright, who is the defending MLS Cup Champions?
The MLS Cup is the top prize for Major League Soccer clubs. Like other USA sports leagues, the MLS hosts post-season soccer where the top clubs compete via a playoff system to determine the MLS Cup champion. This past 2017 season Toronto FC won their first MLS Cup trophy and you can bet they will defend it till the very end!
Tell me more about the defending MLS Cup Champions, Toronto FC.
First, let me just state that there is nothing wrong with being a bandwagon fan. Many fan journeys began because they started rooting for the current championship team. With that being said, you can not go wrong with choosing Toronto FC as your new favorite football club of Major League Soccer.
They have a great roster of talent: Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore of the United States Men’s National Team play for the club. Plus, Italy’s Sebastian Giovinco has been a scoring force in the MLS since he arrived back in 2015. Not only did Toronto FC win the MLS Cup Championship, but they also won the Supporters’ Shield. They are a Double Winning Club!
Hold up: What is the Supporters’ Shield?
So most soccer leagues around the world crown their champion by giving the crown to the club that has earned the most wins and points in a season. For example, Chelsea Football Club in the English Premier League won their championship by winning the most games out of the 20 teams in the Premier League in the 2017 season. Real Madrid Club de Futbol of the Spanish La Liga, won their 2017 championship by winning the most games of out of the 20 teams in La Liga. Now back to the MLS: the League honors the MLS Club with the most wins and points at the end of the regular season with the Supporters’ Shield. A big deal for the regular season, but it means nothing in the postseason.
Got it. So what other teams play in Major League Soccer?
There are two conferences in the MLS: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. An easy way to narrow down your team is by choosing one that is near your city.
Here is a list of the MLS Teams in the Eastern Conference:
Atlanta United FC | Chicago Fire | Columbus Crew SC
D.C. United | Montreal Impact | New England Revolution
New York City FC | New York Red Bulls | Orlando City SC
Philadelphia Union | Toronto FC
Here is a list of the MLS Teams in the Western Conference:
Colorado Rapids | FC Dallas | Houston Dynamo
Los Angeles Football Club | LA Galaxy | Minnesota United FC
Portland Timbers | Real Salt Lake | San Jose Earthquakes
Seattle Sounders FC | Sporting Kansas City | Vancouver Whitecaps FC
You can keep up with the latest MLS Team news by visiting the Major League Soccer website.
Perfect. So now what do I need to show my favorite team support?
We actually put together a really easy to use Scarf Design Guide that can be used to create your own custom scarves. Scarves are very important in the world of soccer fans. Not only do they keep you warm during the chilly season, but they are a great way to rally the team on the field and to show your love for the team. So check out this link to begin designing your own custom scarf.
If designing your own gear is not your thing, the MLSStore.com, a Fanatics Experience, is a great destination to order official Major League Soccer apparel.
Remember how I said having a scarf is an important part of being a soccer fan? Well, having a jersey of your club is just as important. Check out the latest 2018 MLS Jerseys via this link and be sure to order before the season begins:
…and that is really it for now. There is so much more to know and learn on your MLS superfan journey, but the fun part is being on that journey. So choose a team, mark your calendars, follow the team via social media, get some gear, and be ready to have a blast this 2018 MLS Season!