Major League Soccer (MLS), founded in 1993 as part of the United States’ successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup, is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation. The league comprises of 29 teams, 26 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada.
The inaugural season took place in 1996 with ten teams. MLS experienced financial and operational struggles in its first few years, losing millions of dollars and folding two teams in 2002. Developments such as the proliferation of soccer-specific stadiums around the league, implementation of the Designated Player Rule allowing teams to sign star players such as David Beckham, and national TV contracts have made MLS profitable since then.
The MLS regular season typically starts in late February or early March and runs through mid-October, with each team playing 34 games. 14 teams compete in the postseason MLS Cup Playoffs in late October and November, culminating in the league’s championship game, the MLS Cup.