Welcome to the start of the 2021 MLS season. As we have all continued to manage through the challenges of the past year, it is with great optimism and excitement that we launch our 26th season.
There is so much to look forward to as we gradually welcome back fans to our stadiums and provide our passionate supporters the opportunity to support their favorite players and clubs.
This letter usually provides an overview of our upcoming season, but this year we wanted to make sure you were part of the conversation by submitting questions via social media. Thanks for your participation and if you click here you will see some of the answers to your questions.
We begin tonight with two games, with San Jose playing in Houston, and then a matchup on FS1 and TSN as Seattle hosts Minnesota. We have a terrific opening weekend, including matches on ABC, FOX, Univision, TSN and TVA, all just a preview of the most expansive broadcast schedule in league history.
Saturday brings the historic debut of our 27th club, Austin FC. Before the team plays its first game in Q2 Stadium in June, Austin FC is off to an amazing start by selling out all season tickets and accumulating a substantial waiting list. In addition to the opening of Q2 Stadium in Austin, we will open spectacular new stadiums in Cincinnati and Columbus.
This season will feature many top U.S. and Canadian players and some of the world's most promising young soccer talents competing in our league, including dozens of players who will join their respective national teams for World Cup qualifying. MLS is not only the fastest-growing sports league in North America, but one of the highest-scoring soccer leagues in the world. Our competitive balance remains unmatched, with the last 15 MLS Cups won by 10 different clubs.
Thanks to the investment made by MLS team owners in facilities, coaching and resources, we are entering a golden era of player development. Players who have come through MLS academies are emerging as stars with their MLS clubs and starting for the U.S. and Canadian national teams. MLS teams have also signed rising global stars such as FC Cincinnati’s Brenner and Minnesota United’s Emanuel Reynoso.
RELATED: View the 2021 Season Preview Guide
For MLS, this is not only the launch of a new season, but the start of an important era. The 2021 season marks the beginning of a five-year path leading into the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
This is a time for our league to soar even higher, and I’m confident it will because MLS has the most dedicated supporters in sports. We are extremely grateful for that loyalty – never more evident than during the challenges of the past year.
Thank you for being with us every step of the way in the growth of MLS. We hope you enjoy the 2021 season!