The league has grown by leaps and bounds over the least several years, and 2014 may well have been its most glorious to date. The league trumpeted its growing quality and stature by unveiling a new logo this September. The message, it seemed then, was clear: This is a league moving rapidly up the world totem pole; its stated goal is to be among the globe’s best by 2022.
This week, however, came a sobering reality check underscoring how far MLS has yet to go if it wants to be considered more than a home for American players who seek bigger paychecks than they can command abroad, as well as aging foreign stars easing their way toward retirement. That reality check came in the form of Frank Lampard.
Lampard currently plays for Manchester City, a big club in the world’s top pro circuit, the English Premier League. NYCFC, as it’s been branded, is owned by City Football Group. City Football Group also owns, first and foremost, Manchester City.
Lampard was originally planned (and hyped to the tune of those 11,000 season-ticket sales) to join NYCFC for the start of the MLS season in March. That would have taken him away from Manchester City for crunch time in the Premier League and the international UEFA Champions League. Given Lampard’s surprisingly good form this season, losing him would have been a major blow. Read more…