MLS no longer a “retirement league” says Tim Parker
When Lionel Messi announced his move to Major League Soccer (MLS), many saw it as a publicity stunt or a way for him to wind down his career. However, MLS veteran Tim Parker believes that Messi’s arrival signifies a shift in perception for the league. Parker, who had a stellar season with St. Louis City SC, stated that Messi’s decision to join MLS while still actively playing for Argentina proves that the league is no longer just a haven for retired international stars.
Parker emphasized that Messi’s continued success on the international stage and his ability to score goals against the best players in the world debunk the notion that MLS is a “retirement league.” He urged people to reconsider their preconceived notions and acknowledge the growth and competitiveness of the league.
The Evolution of MLS
In 2007, when David Beckham moved to the Los Angeles Galaxy, critics laughed at the idea of him playing in MLS due to the perceived gap in talent compared to top European leagues. However, over the past decade and a half, MLS has made significant strides in attracting international players and nurturing homegrown talent.
The league has broken its attendance records for eight consecutive years, surpassing 8.6 million in 2019 and reaching 10 million in 2022. Messi’s arrival, along with other notable players like Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and Luis Suarez joining Inter Miami, showcases the growing investment and interest from popular players worldwide.
Competition and Challenges
Despite his excitement about facing Messi and his star-studded teammates, Parker acknowledged the challenge of stopping such a formidable opponent. He stressed the importance of maintaining focus throughout the entire match, as any lapse could be exploited by Messi and his supporting cast.
Parker also expressed the need for MLS to continue its growth by loosening salary caps and allowing teams to build competitive rosters with international players. He believes that opening up the league to more spending will lead to further development and a reduction in restrictions.
MLS’s Global Reach
Parker’s firsthand experience of witnessing the support for soccer in St. Louis highlights the growing popularity of the sport in the United States. He eagerly anticipates seeing more international players join the league in the future, further enhancing the competition and exposure of MLS.
Joining the Lotto Brand
Parker also shared his excitement about joining the Lotto brand as one of their sponsored athletes. He praised the quality and personalization options of the brand’s Stadio soccer cleat. Parker looks forward to contributing to the growth of the Lotto brand in the United States and connecting with other athletes within the global family.