New England Soccer Today

MLS OKs 28 Teams, Copa America Break

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

It turns out more is better for MLS owners.

On Saturday, the league’s Board of Governors met and announced that it will support future expansion up to 28 clubs, plans of which will be revealed at a later date. Among the anticipated expansion bids is the David Beckham-backed Miami club, which is tentatively slotted to become the 24th MLS club.

Current expansion plans call for 24 teams by 2020. Atlanta United FC, Los Angeles FC and Minnesota United FC will join the league during the next three years, while other cities such as Sacramento, San Antonio, Las Vegas and St. Louis have all been discussed as potential destinations for expansion.

“There is no shortage of demand for MLS expansion teams and we believe the opportunity exists to grow beyond our current plans,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in league release on Saturday. “We will evaluate how to grow the league to 28 teams and establish a process and timeline for future expansion.”

Garber also spoke specifically about the potential Miami club following Saturday’s meeting.

“We are very supportive of Miami Beckham United’s plans to locate their stadium in the City of Miami’s Overtown neighborhood,” Garber said. “Their vision for a world-class venue within the urban core that is accessible by mass transportation is impressive, and we believe it will be an important part of the continued revitalization of the area.

“We look forward to working with David and his partners to finalize plans to bring Major League Soccer to Miami.”

In addition to expansion, the Board approved a two-week break to accommodate the Copa America 2016 tournament, which will be held in the U.S. next summer. The break will take place between Jun. 2-14.

The Board also approved a rule change to the MLS All-Star Game. In the event that a player is selected to the midsummer classic but fails to participate, said player will be ineligible for his next MLS match. In the event a player is declared medically fit for his match immediately following the All-Star Game, he will be precluded from playing in such match, but will receive “credit” for playing in such match for bonuses and option triggers.

Last year, Revolution left back Chris Tierney was selected to the All-Star Game, but did not suit up for the match due to injury.

The Board also agreed to keep the current format for the final day of the regular season, and as such, all week 34 matches will continue to be played at the same time on the same day.

In addition, the Board discussed further investment in club rosters, including utilizing Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) for the 2016 season and beyond. More details regarding TAM will be announced in the near future.

Lastly, the implementation of real-time video replay was shelved for further discussion, though the Board will continue to evaluate a plan for the future.

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