On April 6, 1996, Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California gathered 30,000 spectators to witness the first official whistle of a league as stars like Kaka, Beckham, Andrea Pirlo, or citizens like Mauricio Cienfuegos passed by. And Vito. Zelaya, among others.
by J. Mejía | 06 Apr 2021-20: 48
In a country with a history and traditions of baseball, and a population that is fond of many sports such as hockey or basketball, football arrived a little late: only 25 years ago.
When the first official football match was played on April 6, 1996 on US soil, some teams in Europe had already been around for as long as a century. Others, like Real Madrid or AC Milan, already have many international championships and an enviable career.
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However, the North American country had long refused to call the “beautiful game” a reference for its patriotic hobbies, and it wasn’t until 1994 that the interest of many turned to football.
That year, the United States organized the World Cup and witnessed a parade of world soccer stars who faced each other in the various matches held across the country, a tournament that was won by the Brazilian national team.
Two years later, at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California, some 30,000 spectators gathered to watch the first official whistle in the league that has been around today for 25 years.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, the local San Jose Clash and DC United team faced each other in the match, and they are the team that will be crowned as the first champion in history during the first season of the Major League Soccer (MLS), as it was named.
The match culminated in victory in favor of the locals, however, it worked to start a league that was presenting at the time with only 10 registered teams, an amount that grew to 27 today.
Major League Soccer, where great international figures such as Andrea Pirlo or Ricardo Kaka have played, so far, they have managed to gain followers across the country, and figures from Central America have also played in their teams, for example, Salvadoran Mauricio Cienfuegos, who served in the ranks of Los Angeles Galaxy from 1996 to 2003.
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Despite the fact that other sports like American football or baseball continue to dominate in terms of the number of fans, MLS promises to continue growing into the future, in fact, in 2019, the Atlanta United team averaged over 50,000 spectators each. A match in their home court, with amounts similar to flows in the big matches in Europe or South America.
The next edition of MLS will kick off on April 16 with an inaugural meeting between Huston Dynamo and San José Earthquakes, the teams that will kick off the 26th NFL.