Dear MLS Supporters:
Led by our great players and your incredible support, the 2015 Major League Soccer season was arguably the best in the League’s history.
On behalf of everyone associated with MLS – from our ownership to our players and league-wide staff – we are grateful for your dedication and commitment to helping build MLS into a League we can all be proud of.
The 20th MLS Season opened with the exciting anticipation of our two newest clubs, Orlando City SC and New York City FC. Both teams attracted record crowds with passionate supporters and set a new bar for the successful launch of an MLS expansion team.
Our regular season started with perhaps the most active signing period in history, led by Toronto FC signing Landon Donovan MVP Sebastian Giovinco, NYCFC signing Spanish star David Villa and Orlando City signing former FIFA World Player of the Year Kaká. These signings, as well as those of other international stars who joined the league during the summer transfer window, showed that MLS is becoming a “League of Choice” for some of the world’s biggest names.
As importantly, our clubs are continuing their commitment to player development, with significant investments in their academy programs. This past year, a Canadian player was the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft: Orlando City selected Cyle Larin, who went on to become the AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year as well as score the most goals ever by a Canadian player. And LA Galaxy Academy product Gyasi Zardes tied a record for most appearances by a player in his first year with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Our 20th Season also featured the inaugural year of our eight-year partnership with ESPN, Fox Sports and Univision. And, for the first time, our games were broadcast in 170 countries, including live in many of the most important markets around the world. It also was our first year of Decision Day, which concluded the regular season in dramatic fashion.
The Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs kicked off as 12 Clubs began their quest to win MLS Cup. For the first time in MLS history, all three Canadian teams qualified for the postseason. The weeks leading to Cup featured incredible drama, last-minute goals, saves and penalty shootouts. Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers were worthy finalists and I want to congratulate the Timbers and their passionate fans on winning their first MLS Cup!
Our 21st season is upon us, as the complete 2016 season schedule will be unveiled January 7, the adidas MLS Player Combine begins later that day, and the MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas, on January 14. Preseason training kicks off the following week.
We are proud of our progress, and yet we know that MLS’ best days are still ahead. During the next few years, our league will expand even further and add new stadiums, providing fans the opportunity to support a local club in a great environment.
With your support, MLS will continue its march towards becoming the League of Choice for soccer fans in North America and around the globe.
I want to wish you and your families a happy and healthy 2016!
—Commissioner Don Garber