What you need to know

MLS Season Pass lives

Today marks the first day of MLS and Apple’s MLS Season Pass. Watch now!

San Jose Earthquakes sign DP midfielder Gruezo from FC Augsburg

The San Jose Earthquakes have brought Carlos Gruezo back to MLS, announcing Tuesday they’ve acquired the Ecuador international midfielder from German Bundesliga side FC Augsburg. The 27-year-old’s deal runs through the 2025 MLS season with an option for 2026. He'll be a Designated Player for San Jose, a roster status that Cape Verde international midfielder Jamiro Monteiro and Argentine winger Cristian Espinoza held last year.

Inter Miami sign Ukraine international center back Kryvtsov

Inter Miami CF have a new defensive anchor, announcing Tuesday they’ve acquired Ukrainian international center back Sergii Kryvtsov from Shakhtar Donetsk. Kryvtsov, who turns 32 in mid-March, has signed through the 2024 MLS season with an option for 2025.

Orlando City sign Iceland international midfielder Thórhallsson

Orlando City SC’s transformative offseason maintained its rapid pace Tuesday, as the reigning US Open Cup champions announced they’ve signed midfielder Dagur Dan Thórhallsson from Icelandic top-flight side Breidablik. The 22-year-old, who’s played four times for Iceland’s senior squad, arrives with 18 goals and 11 assists in 118 professional appearances. He helped Breidablik win a Besta deild karla (Iceland first division) title last year, plus has played in Norway and Belgium.

Austin FC loan forward Djitté to Ligue 1's AC Ajaccio

Austin FC have loaned forward Moussa Djitté to Ligue 1 side AC Ajaccio through June 30, the club announced Tuesday. The deal includes a purchase option. The 23-year-old Senegal native leaves Austin, at least temporarily, after they signed longtime US international striker Gyasi Zardes in free agency this winter. The club also returns Argentine veteran Maxi Urruti, who often started during their 2022 campaign.

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Like the first day of school

It lives. Happy MLS season pass day. A genuinely historic day in sports.

I promise I’m not just saying that because the good folks at Apple are now tracking my heart rate down to the millisecond, or because I’m just excited at how easy it is to type The Daily Kickoff on this brand-new iPhone 14 Pro Max they sent me. I’m saying that because we’ve never seen anything like this, which means it’s equal parts exciting and frightening.

It’s a real first-day-of-school kind of feeling because there may be some bumps in the road at first. It’s going to take a while for everyone to get used to something that’s never been done before in sports. That’s for both the folks involved with making the content and consuming it. But once it starts to click, it’s going to be outstanding.

I know there are some concerns. A common one I’ve seen is that folks won’t be able to turn on their television and flip through the channels and stumble on MLS anymore and become a fan for life. Well, y’all, I’m gonna level with you, there were maybe five people in the past year who actually did that and that feels like a generous estimate. Seriously, very few people even have cable anymore, and I think we can largely agree that the folks who do aren’t generally the target age for your average MLS fan.

What makes soccer different than other professional sports in North America is the atmosphere inside the stadiums. By investing in the folks who fill the stadiums via free subscriptions to season ticket holders and carving out Saturdays at 7:30 pm ET as a set day and time for MLS, you’re investing in the kind of grassroots community building that actually catches attention and creates fans for life.

It also helps that the league will be able to tell stories a little more thoroughly. Everyone loves a narrative. If done right, getting to know the key characters and storylines on a more personal level will work wonders in helping to make the league’s overall product as engaging as possible. You’ve seen examples of the power of storytelling in sports like Formula 1 and soccer teams like Wrexham over the last few years. Now, MLS can take that to another level.

Will it all be perfect from the start? Like most things, probably not. But, objectively, the ceiling is incredibly high with this partnership. A few years from now, we might be looking at today as yet another pivotal moment for the league. For now, though, let’s just be excited (and anxious) to get through the first day.

Other Things

Ricketts retires, joins Vancouver Whitecaps staff: Veteran forward Tosaint Ricketts announced his retirement from professional soccer on Tuesday, calling it a career after 14 years and stops at 10 clubs in seven different countries. Major League Soccer was the 35-year-old's home for most of the last seven seasons, first with Toronto FC (2016-2018) before representing fellow Canadian side Vancouver Whitecaps FC between 2019-2022. He'll remain with the 'Caps as liaison of club and player engagement. Ricketts, a former Canadian international who scored 17 goals over 61 senior caps with Les Rogues while also participating in the 2007 U-20 FIFA World Cup, was part of TFC's treble-winning (MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield, Canadian Championship) squad in 2017. He captured the latter competition on two more occasions (2018 with Toronto and 2022 with Vancouver), concluding his MLS career with 22g/5a in 119 regular-season and Audi MLS Cup Playoff games.

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Good luck out there. Catch up with friends when you can.