In March of 2017, Bastian Schweinsteiger moved from British giants Manchester United to MLS’s Chicago Fire. Schweinsteiger had fallen out of favor with now manager Jose Mourinho and had retired from the German National Team. With few options, as most European players do, he left for the MLS.
Since switching, Bastian has found his own fitness and the quality of play as lacking in comparison, “Not everything is seen that happens on the pitch -– the team-mate in a good position, where it might get dangerous, how a situation develops. Too many balls are lost as well.” Though he called this normal, this is only normal in one place.
Many proponents of MLS want you to evaluate the product objectively. Based on what? Like you shouldn’t measure up your kids’ little league team to an NFL franchise? If the product is titled “Major League” and every year is measured against European royalty in its own All-Star game, then they are measuring themselves to a higher bar than any fan.
At times, it’s comical. New teams using names like United, Real and FC and calling a match between NYCFC and the Red Bulls a “classico”, a name given to classic rivals with one team haven only been introduced in 2013. The US league has little knowledge of futbol terminology, no true connected youth system, few homegrown mega stars, and a huge fear of the concept of relegation.
When reading an article about a former European player questioning the quality of MLS futbol… you’re less shocked and more realizing it’s a slow sports news day. Is it a fixable problem? In a country where teams use the name “futbol club” to play a sport not known by that name, it’s not hard to answer that question.