Major League Soccer wants to be a go-to destination for the best the soccer world has to offer. Although the league has come a long way over the years, particularly recently, luring top players away from Europe in their prime years has proven difficult.
MLS commissioner Don Garber hopes that’s not the case moving forward. He hopes top stars come to MLS earlier in their careers.
“We would love players like Wayne Rooney, and those who have been able to be really successful at the highest level, to be thinking about Major League Soccer. Today, that’s perhaps in their-30s and maybe, sometime in the future, that’s in their mid-20s,” Garber told Manchester Evening News.
Players like Rooney have expressed interest in joining MLS, but not until the waning years of their professional careers. However, that trend may be starting to change.
“The average age of the 35 players we signed was 27,” Garber said. “It is just that people pay more attention to the big games and that is good. They have the chance to see Drogba playing the year before in the Premier League and then they see him playing for Montreal.
“There is a strategy to sign players like that. At the end of the day it is about signing Bradley and Giovinco in their 20s, making as much money as Lampard and Gerrard, and signing them in the prime of their career.
“Robbie Keane [at LA Galaxy] is probably the best signing in the history of the league and we signed him almost in his prime, in his late-20s or 30-ish [he was 31].”