The new MLS logo was revealed on Thursday, September 18th and there was much groaning but also quite a bit of applause. Before I come out to say my thoughts on the logo, here are some other thoughts on MLS (not ‘the’ MLS – you don’t say ‘the’ MLB do you? It’s Major League Soccer, not The Major League Soccer…little sidenote for everyone).
Recently someone mentioned on a message board that I was reading through that the new logo, ‘is bland and boring, but that is the quality of the MLS’ (again with the ‘the’ before MLS). I had a knee-jerk reaction to respond to those 12 words solely but decided not to spew back what I thought in response. Instead, I’m giving you – my readers on this blog – what I think about that short quote. And this isn’t because I don’t not like, appreciate, or welcome different opinions, but because I believe that many times there are soccer fans in the US – who may even be US Soccer die-hards – that don’t give MLS either the benefit of the doubt or a chance.
When I grew up in Minnesota, the only team I really knew of was the LA Galaxy (thank you Cobi Jones). As my soccer fandom and knowledge (I can separate mine quite easily even though it may sound like it’s hard to do so) has grown, so has my appreciation for different leagues, whether it’s La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A, the Bundesliga, the Barclays Premier League, or Major League Soccer.
The main point that I try to distinguish between the different leagues is just that…they’re different. The Bundesliga is much more methodical and to the point than a more defensive-minded Serie A. Premier League is the league that most – if not all players – want to play in at some point in their careers but MLS…MLS is a mix of everything. Just like the United States is a melting pot of people, MLS is a melting pot of hundreds of players from all over the world, coming to the US with differing styles of play and interesting ways of seeing how teams should play with formations, the types of players out on the pitch, etc.
That brings me to my next point that is established from the previous paragraph. Because MLS was founded in 1996, whereas other leagues have been around for decades longer, obviously not everything about the league is going to be perfect. And yes, I have my gripes about the league including some of the CBA negotiations (from the last CBA since the newest one is coming up this winter), weird transfer rules a la Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey and even moreso Jermaine Jones (sorry Chicago Fire…), as well as the crazy referee situation that happens sometimes. Regardless, MLS might have a ‘lower quality’ of players, coaches, refs and possibly even fans, but the league’s not even 20 years old. Give it a chance before it’s absentmindedly thrown out.
And maybe this is my optimism showing in this post, but don’t you want a strong US national team and not hate on the players that you supposedly support every 4 years for the World Cup? Don’t you want to see the players who play for your country? Yes and yes, I assume, are your answers. If that is the case, then I would think to have a better well-rounded and collaborative US national team, then the more players that play together would help the US team. The coalescence of national team players in MLS would only promote and sustain a healthy national team as well as a growing, thriving, and sustainable top league in the United States. Additionally, watching any sports game on tv isn’t nearly as fun or exciting as in person. I’d think that having a major league sports team (namely, soccer) in your city, or one close, would be an incentive to support said league because it’s also supporting the local economy and the local team.
Now on to the new MLS logo after my extended why-you-should-,-in-the-very-least-,-support-MLS rant.
Now, don’t throw anything at me…but I like it. It’s young and fresh but has elements to it that were thought out and, with historical leanings, also point toward the future with a new look. However, when anything is revealed with anything MLS – a club, logo, rebrand – almost always there’s consternation about this or that but it’s not going to change now, so why complain?
So regardless of your leanings towards badges, logos, MLS brand identity, or MLS, at least take some of what I think into perspective so if/when you speak down on MLS, because I might be there to help out the US’s top soccer league get a little more respect.