Even though the U.S. didn't make an appearance in the 2018 World Cup, soccer fans stateside still have something to look forward to beyond their usual MLS fixtures. La Liga the top league in Spain that holds legendary teams like Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and FC Barcelona have agreed to play games in America starting "sooner than later."
But this won't just be an exhibition or pre-season games, these are regular season competitions that will count towards the points earned on the table each season. The agreement stretches over 15 years and will take place in Canada as well, the first of its kind in the world of soccer. This agreement will show that American soccer fans are ready to support world-class, top level football.
American fans will be able to Lionel Messi, one of if not the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of boots, along with Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa, Arturo Vidal, and Luka Modric. The U.S. has seen players of this caliber in friendlies or a pre-season tournament but never at full strength.
Arguably the biggest league in the world, the English Premier League has discussed a deal like this in the past to showcase their stars in the states but it was eventually shot down. La Liga is hoping to expand their league across the world and with the population of soccer booming in America, the states were a perfect destination.
This will really help America grow the beautiful game to higher levels across the country while also benefiting La Liga by giving them a whole new audience. With this deal and the announcement earlier this summer that the World Cup will come to North America in 2026, the future of soccer in the U.S. is incredibly bright and will continue to grow.
You can see that our country is interested in soccer just by observing the growth of the MLS over the past couple of years. Fans pack the stands each matchday and do in full as Atlanta United set the MLS attendance record this season with over 70,000 fans attending their regular season game against Seattle. The only thing holding back American soccer from achieving European level success is the skill level of the players.
But with the new La Liga deal, foreign players can see first hand the passion that American fans hold and that can open up the idea of top European and African players transferring to an MLS club instead of another countries league. We've already seen players do this like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney and Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann has expressed interest in the MLS as well.