Think World Cup 1994. The setting: nine cities across the United States. Who won? Brazil…and, well, the United States and Canada too. The 1994 FIFA World Cup ignited soccer in North America and paved the way for Major League Soccer (MLS). The MLS kicked off for the first time, two years after the ’94 World Cup in 1996.
With the launch of the league soon after the World Cup, the MLS was able to draw multiple well-known international soccer players from the 1994 World Cup. Team USA soccer players Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola and Eric Wynalda joined the league along with Mexico’s Jorge Campos and Columbia’s Carlos Valderrama.
When the league kicked off in ’96, the league was composed of 10 teams:
- Columbus Crew
- D.C. United
- New England Revolution—where Alexi Lalas played
- New York Red Bulls, previously known as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars—where Tony Meola played
- Sporting Kansas City, previously known as the Kansas City Wiz
- Colorado Rapids
- FC Dallas, previously known as the Dallas Burn
- Los Angeles Galaxy—where Jorge Campos played
- San Jose Earthquakes, previously known as the San Jose Clash—where Eric Wynalda played
- Tampa Bay Mutiny—where Carlos Valderrama played
As years went by, the MLS expanded with new fans and teams. Was your team one of the original 10 MLS teams or was it added as the league has grown? Find out below with an MLS Team timeline.
- 1998 – Chicago Fire and Miami Fusion
- 2005 – Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA
- 2006 – Houston Dynamo (which was formed when the San Jose Earthquake owners relocated to Texas)
- 2007 – Toronto FC
- 2008 – San Jose Earthquakes were resurrected with a new ownership group
- 2009 – Seattle Sounders
- 2010 – Philadelphia Union
- 2011 – Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers
- 2012 – Montreal Impact
- 2015 – Orlando City Soccer Club & New York City Football Club
- 2017 – Atlanta
The new teams attracted new players and the MLS began to draw even more international attention, bringing multiple international players into the league. Since ’96, the MLS has welcomed over 200 international players with names such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Cuauhtémoc Blanco.
The MLS is bigger than ever and currently houses 19 total teams—Sixteen in the United States and three in Canada. Tickets are available for all MLS teams for the 2014 MLS soccer season. Find your MLS team and go checkout some goal-scoring action with MLS tickets!