We know you want to follow MLS during the offseason, especially since the league seems to be growing faster than your awkward cousin who needs a lot of alone time. Maybe you are sad that the season is over, but don’t despair blessed child. HotFooty has your guide to the best MLS sites to follow the league during the 2017 MLS pre-season. You’ll be in the know on MLS transfer rumors, Concacaf Champions League, and even US Open Cup soccer.
One of the greatest things about European soccer is the seasons feel never ending. Due to Champions League and League Cups held in every country, each year just piles into the next until you have a blurry memory about which game happened in which season. If you add in transfer rumors and international team drama, it’s truly 24/7 footy across the globe. Guess what, the MLS is exactly like this too, it’s just not covered as much by our major media networks. But there’s ways to follow MLS during the 2017 pre-season to get you pumped and ready for next year.
Ok, so the MLS season “ended” with the conclusion of the MLS Cup Playoffs. But did you know the MLS has a full fledged Champions League of their own in which MLS clubs fight with Central American and Caribbean clubs? Did you know there is a US Open Cup in which teams from lower divisions can climb their way up the ladder and compete against MLS clubs for the national trophy? Did you know that transfer rumors in the USA get just as stupid as they do over seas? All of this stuff is happening right here on good old American soil. Here are some of the ways to follow MLS during the off-season and some of the best sites to do it on.
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
CONCACAF, which is The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, holds a Champions League each year for the best clubs to come out of each region’s club leagues. Typically, 4 MLS clubs make the tournament and fight the best teams from Mexico and the other major Central/Caribbean countries. The 2016 tournament is still going on for FC Dallas, NY Red Bulls, and Vancouver Whitecaps, so be sure to check out these games. You may have to watch on some random channels, but you should be able to get the games. At the very least, you can follow what’s going on with the league tournament here:
For the upcoming 2017/2018 Champions League, new MLS Cup holders Seattle will be in it as well as Toronto, NY Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids, and FC Dallas. That doesn’t start for a while though as the 2016/2017 tournament won’t conclude until well into spring 2017.
US Open Cup (Lamar Hunt US Open Cup)
The US Open Cup is similar to the League Cup in England. It’s basically a shot for the small clubs in the country to work their way up a tournament ladder and face up against some big name teams. Teams like Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, Charleston Battery, have all made it to the final rounds in the last few decades. Even amateur teams fight their regional competition for a chance to join up with the MLS big boys in a knockout tourney for the trophy. It’s pretty fun and based on FC Dallas going bananas after winning the tournament this year (2016) the teams take it fairly seriously. Here’s how to follow the upcoming tournament for 2017:
- Official US Open Cup website
- 2017 Cup news, dates, and Divisional Handbook
- TheCup.US – A somewhat wonky website but very good coverage of the random/small team games
- MLS news about US Open Cup
Your 2016 champions are FC Dallas, but the 2017 tournament has already kicked off down at the lower levels. TheCup.US (link above) has great coverage of those games, and once the big teams start playing the other links will start to help. Even ESPNFC will cover some of the big games towards the end of the tourney. Get in there and get to know your local club.
MSL Transfer Rumors
This is the good stuff. The stuff that makes people tweet like lunatics and post insane articles on group boards. Like when people said Bastian Schweinsteiger of German and Manchester United fame was coming to Chicago Fire and then that potentially might happen. Transfer rumors are ridiculous and great and part of why soccer is awesome. So here’s some sites that cover them:
- Fox Sports Soccer – Transfer Rumors – they are all over it but it’s a lot of overseas stuff
- SBNation MLS Transfer rumours – Actually pretty informed news because they’ve got a wide network of local writers
- @MLSTransfers – Twitter – does break some news, but also lots of random tweeting, worth the follow
- MLS official Rumors website – corporate, but always worth checking
- MLS Multiplex – very solid coverage all around, not just transfers
- MLS Transfer Tracker – a running update of journalists’ notes on transfers
All right MLS fans, get cracking, the upcoming season will be here before you know it.