MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Friday shared the following message ahead of the start of the 2020 MLS season on Saturday, February 29.
Dear MLS Supporters,
Welcome to the launch of Major League Soccer’s 25th Season!
As I reflect on our first 25 years, I am thankful to everyone who has played a role in the growth of our league in the first quarter-century. I am particularly grateful to you – our tremendous supporters, who are the most passionate in all of sports. We would not be the league we are without you.
This weekend marks the start of a year-long celebration of our 25th season. Throughout the year, we will honor the countless people behind the growth of our league and reflect on so many key moments in our history. Most importantly, we will focus on our exciting future, as our best days remain ahead of us.
The tremendous momentum driving the sport in the United States and Canada continues Saturday, as more than 50,000 fans will attend Nashville SC’s historic debut against Atlanta United FC, in a prime-time matchup on FOX. Inter Miami CF’s inaugural season opens Sunday on the road against LAFC on ESPN. Two weeks later, on March 14, Inter Miami will make its home debut, hosting co-owner David Beckham’s former club, the LA Galaxy, on FOX.
More and more world-class players continue to make MLS their “League of Choice.” A record 10 players signed from Mexico’s Liga MX, with six MLS clubs setting transfer records. Notably, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez — the Mexican National Team’s all-time leading goal scorer — joins the LA Galaxy and will make his MLS debut on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo, on Univision. He is just one example of the many talented players who have signed with MLS clubs.
Just as importantly, our clubs signed a record number of Homegrown Players, showing that our academies continue to produce great talent. Our teams also continue to invest heavily in world-class training facilities and stadiums. This year, 20 of our teams will play in soccer-specific stadiums and in the next three years we will open seven more – each one giving you a great environment to enjoy the game you love.
MLS will host marquee events throughout the year, and will feature the most expansive broadcast schedule in league history with our partners: ABC, FOX, and Univision in the U.S., and CTV, TSN and TVA Sports in Canada. This is beyond our regular lineup of cable, digital and international broadcasts.
The 25th Season Celebration also will include a new, groundbreaking format for our MLS All-Star Game, presented by Target. The MLS All-Stars will face the Liga MX All-Stars on July 29 at Banc of California Stadium. This first-ever matchup will build on our growing and important partnership with Liga MX. This year, the highly successful Leagues Cup will expand from eight to 16 teams. The 2020 Campeones Cup, hosted by the reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC, is on August 12.
Heineken Rivalry Week – set this year for Aug. 20-23 – will spotlight these exhilarating matchups: El Tráfico, featuring LAFC and the LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers taking on the Seattle Sounders, Inter Miami hosting Orlando City, among many others. Decision Day arrives on Sunday, Oct. 4, with all 26 MLS clubs playing at 4:30 p.m. ET in the final quest for berths and seeding in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
For a complete preview of the 2020 MLS season, click here.
As we celebrate 25 years of MLS building soccer in North America, I know you are as excited as I am about this important milestone in our history. The growth of MLS would not be possible without your support and commitment, and we deeply appreciate everything you have done to help us grow true “Soccer Nations” in the U.S. and Canada.
Enjoy the 2020 season!
Commissioner Don Garber