Brazilian legend Kaka scored his first goal for Orlando City in the MLS last weekend, just the latest a long number of football stars to head to the United States.
So why are so many of the games biggest names heading across the pond?
When Major League Soccer started in 1993 it took some years to get going; the Americans didn’t take to soccer as much as the rest of the world but slowly it has grown and grown.
Last season there was an average attendance of 18,807 in the league with more people learning to love the sport of “soccer”.
The numbers have grown as more people have come to appreciate the division; more stars are going over there but they are also producing stars such as Clint Dempsey who started his career at the New England Revolution before being signed by Fulham.
Of course it all started with David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy. A decision which at first surprised many of his fans but the move turned out to be a great success for everyone involved.
While it wasn’t an easy road to start with as Becks flitted between LA Galaxy and AC Milan, the Californian side’s captain made 98 appearances scoring 18 goals and winning the MLS Cup with them in 2011.
As he grew into the American life and the team grew around him he carved a new idea and a new path for footballers reaching the end of their careers.
Many players now see the MLS has a growing strength and many want to be a part of it so when they are losing their speed or fitness instead of retiring like they would have previously done, many are heading to America.
That might sound slightly harsh on the MLS because it sounds like the players believe they have a chance of first team football because the teams are not as good as they are in Europe but actually there is a positive.
Footballers want to stay playing as long as they can. Football is in their blood and a lot find that their bodies slow down before their brains do.
Footballers now see going to play for one of the American teams in the MLS as mutually beneficial and you can see why.
While they can carry on playing football longer than they had originally thought, a league which is growing and progressing every year gets the benefit of the skill and knowledge of these famous stars which are not only helping the clubs develop on the football side but is also drawing in fans who want to see these superstars play.
There have been many stars join the MLS over the years such as Robbie Keane at LA Galaxy, Obafemi Martins signing for Seattle Sounders, Robert Earnshaw appearing for Toronto FC, Tim Cahill performing at New York Red Bulls and Mikael Silvestre previously joining Portland Timbers and it looks like many stars are going to carry on going.
The trend looks set to continue and while no one is expecting the MLS to be able to contend with Europe’s biggest leagues anytime soon, the leap they have made since their first season is phenomenal.
Long may it continue!