How Different is MLS from European Football?


Whether you call it football or soccer, it essentially remains the world’s biggest, most famous sport. Pretty much every country plays it in one way or the other. And don’t forget about FIFA World Cup – a global event with record-breaking viewing figures. Nevertheless, in the United States, soccer is frequently overlooked by the public, as sports like baseball, basketball, and American football take the lead. The US has united its soccer (we’re going to go with this word instead of football to avoid confusion) under the aegis of Major League Soccer or simply MLS, and it has quite a few differences from its European counterpart.

Much Smaller Fanbase

As was already mentioned, soccer isn’t the ultimate sport in the United States. Although the fanbase is getting larger each year, it’s still far from European countries have. In countries like Germany and Lithuania you can watch soccer in almost any pub and soccer bets can be placed in most casino venues. Even though soccer matches aren’t nearly as popular in US, there are nevertheless a lot of dedicated players throughout the country, younger people in particular. A lot of 24/7 sports bars have their big TV screens lit up with MLS matches if other sports are on a temporary hiatus.

Club Value

European soccer leagues and teams have rich supporters that back them and help get a hold of some of the best players. A number of European soccer teams are among the most valuable sports franchises globally. Such a club as Real Madrid is estimated at some striking $4 billion. MLS teams aren’t even as near as expensive as that. The most valuable US soccer team in 2021 is LAFC, valued at $860.

Different Schedules

The US soccer league schedule differs from that of European ones. MLS starts in March and goes all the way through about the middle of November. As for Europe, all of the major pro leagues, such as the English Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga, begin in August and continue through to May of the following year.

Different Styles of Playing

Soccer origins can be traced back to ancient times, with its early examples being scattered throughout various points in history. If you take a look around the world, you will notice that the style differs from place to place. Analysts often discuss this topic and acknowledge that each country has its own specific style of playing soccer. For instance, UK teams are referred to as having a long ball style with wingers driving it to the goalposts. Latin American and Spanish teams, on the other hand, have a more aggressive style, with active players conducting a quick attack. US teams use a combination of these styles and try to develop a blended approach.

Champions Are Chosen Differently

Last but not least, champions are determined differently in Europe and the US. The United States has a system of bracket tournaments, where the best teams of the season compete with one another, as other teams get kicked out of the tournaments and can’t participate in postseason matches. As a result, the tournament champion often isn’t the season’s best team in terms of win/loss ratio or points.

As for European soccer, it’s a lot more complex in terms of determining a champion. There, it frequently depends on the rules of a particular tournament. For example, the FIFA World Cup follows a knockout bracket system. The Premier League champion, on the other hand, is decided based on a system of points that are counted through the season. A win gets three points, a draw gets one point, and a loss gets no points at all. The team that accumulates the most points by the end of the season becomes the tournament champion.