Why footballers choose to start their career in MLS

Major League Soccer (MLS) has seen an influx of interest from young British footballers in recent years. These players are looking to start their career – rather than end it – on the other side of the pond, but what is the reason for this shift in trends?

Manchester United Academy
Manchester United Academy Image Credit

Setting the scene

Ever since David Beckham chose to end his footballing career with a stint for LA Galaxy, more and more footballers in their twilight years have been attracted to the bright lights of the US. This includes Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. The reasons are obvious: it is easier to be star player, there is money in the MLS, and there is often better weather. This trend has somehow taken the notice of younger British players, who are increasingly choosing to begin rather than end their footballing careers in the US.

The Jacks

Three young footballers, all by the name of Jack, have signed deals across the Atlantic in recent years. Jack Harrison went there straight to New York from the Manchester United Academy and has no regrets. Jack Blake made the decision after being refused first team status at Nottingham Forest, while Jack Barmby chose to go there from Leicester simply to try out something different. According to Blake, the lower US leagues are less physical than the lower English leagues and players who are strong on skill and tactics will therefore do better.

Manchester United Academy
Manchester United Academy Image Credit

College Soccer

It is not just young seniors starting their professional career, as interest in the College Soccer leagues amongst English under-18 players has also been growing. Getting US soccer scholarships also helps clubs that need to provide exit strategies for the players they choose not to sign; for the players, it is a guaranteed four-year contract with studies thrown in and a good chance of a professional career in the MSL at the end. As a result, we can expect to see many more young players leave their English football kits from suppliers such as https://www.kitking.co.uk/football-kits at home to travel to the US for a different career.

With many more opportunities in such a large country, and one that invests heavily in sport, looking to the US may well become something that all promising young English players consider.