The launch of Major League Soccer

This day in football history

(Tony Quinn/MLS)

On 17 December 1993, United States Soccer Federation President Alan Rothenberg announced the formation of Major League Soccer as the country’s new top flight.

The new league was part of the deal between the USSF and FIFA that included the U.S. hosting the 1994 World Cup. The agreement included several provisions for the promotion of the sport in the United States, including the establishment of a new professional outdoor league, which the country had not had since the NASL’s last season in 1984.

So in December 1993, after receiving FIFA approval for the plans, Rothenberg unveiled the new league and logo, with competition scheduled to start in 1995 among 12 teams. The launch was later delayed to 1996 and the initial number of teams reduced to 10, but after a series of expansions and contractions, MLS currently has 21 teams across the United States and Canada, with another — Atlanta United — joining in 2017.