As the new season kicks off, I’ve realized there are so many wonderful things in the world of soccer...that I wish would happen in MLS. Some of these things are serious. Things the league should really be thinking about, like raising or removing the salary cap, players rights/freedom of movement, pro/rel (ha ha, just kidding). But also some not so serious things like kit design (FC Dallas has that covered), players coming over, marketing plans. Some of these (probably most) would be pipe dreams, but it would provide so much more for all us fans.
So without further ado, here’s the not-so-serious 2019 MLS wishlist for this season.
- I wish some one in MLS would hire Jose Mourinho - preferably NYCFC, but that’s probably asking too much. Besides the endless amount of comedy it would provide (“I’ve won more championships and important games than anyone in the league combined”) it would hit every major component MLS seems to look for in major signings. Huge name, HUGE personality. Can drive conversation, viewers, and ticket sales. It would be a home run from every marketing angle anywhere. He is the Zlatan of management. If only LAG hadn’t just hired a new manager.
- I wish MLS takes another step toward higher profile players - not necessarily retiring old stars like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, etc. But another step like Romain Allessandrini. A set of players already in their prime. Allessandrini wasn’t some superstar in Europe, but was a solid all-round League One player. I know the in-vogue thing is young South American’s you can sell for profit in two years, but bringing in more TAM level players that have some name cache but also the ability to lift the overall level of the team and league. Examples on my mind - Juan Mata, Stephen El Shaarawy, Gyfli Sigurosson, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Carlos Bacca (maybe a little old), Shinji Kagawa, maybe even Mario Goetze.
- I wish for an out of nowhere expansion candidate - we all know about Sacramento and St. Louis. We remember the 12 team list from the last expansion round. But maybe somewhere else in the country there is a team that would look right or feel right or be just an amazing city to add. A resurrection of Team Hawaii anyone?
4. I wish that MLS would make it mandatory for every team to own a reserve team in the USL Now that FCD owns a team in USL League One, it's crazy to think that less than half of the league owns a reserve team. You name me a single Top 10 league in the world that doesn't field full reserve side for each team, cause I can't think of one. There's so much untapped talent in the US, and MLS can ensure that becomes less of an issue, with a simple mandate.