The Major League Soccer (United States and Canada)

Major League Soccer (MLS) is a professional first-division league comprised by United States and Canadian soccer teams. The league currently consists of 18 teams, but there are plans to increase that number to 19 teams by 2012.

Major League Soccer was form in 1993 when the United States was bidding to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season took place in 1996, and back then the league was comprised of no more than ten teams.

The Major League Soccer season runs from March to November. For the 2011 season, each of the 18 teams is scheduled to play 34 games. The league uses a double round-robin system where each team plays against each of the other 15 teams twice; once at home and once away. The team who has the highest amount of points when the season ends is awarded the MLS Supporter's Shield.

Midway through the MLS season, there is a break to allow for the annual MLS All-Star Game.

The MLS season is followed by MLS Cup Playoffs for ten teams, culminating in the MLS Cup championship final.

Conferences

The MLS teams are divided into two conferences; eastern and western.

The Eastern Conference

The Western Conference

International competitions

In the CONCACAF Champions League, MLS has three berths available for its United States teams and it is also possible for a United States team to qualify via U.S. Open Cup. For the Canadian teams, there is one berth available and qualification is through the Canadian Championship.

The MLS will send the following teams to the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions Leagues:

History

The Major League Soccer (MLS) was formed in 1993 when the United States was bidding to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season was played in 1996 with the following ten teams: Columbus Crew, D.C. United, the New England Revolution, the NY/NJ MetroStars, the Tampa Bay Mutiny, the Colorado Rapids, the Dallas Burn, the Kansas City Wiz, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the San Jose Clash.

After the premier season spectator rates began to drop, and the quality of the league was questioned when the U.S. men's national team (consisting chiefly of MLS players) finished in last place in the 1998 World Cup.

Interest was revived in 2002 when the U.S. team unexpectedly made the quarterfinals after winning against Portugal and Mexico. Four months after the World Cup final, the MLS Cup 2002 set an attendance record at Gillette Stadium.