In 2015 the MLS will welcome two new clubs, New York City FC and Orlando City Soccer Club. New York City FC is owned by Premier League side Manchester City and the New York Yankees, two of the most valuable sports franchises in the world.
While expanding into the most populated city in the country with a passion for soccer seems like a no-brainer, could the new franchise actually hurt the MLS?
When the Abu Dhabi United Group purchased Manchester City in 2008, they dedicated one thing to improving the club: money. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on bringing in the world’s best players, and the club has two Premier League titles to show for it.
Now the club has focused on expanding into a more global brand, gaining ownership of Melbourne City FC in Australia, Yokohama F Marinos in Japan and New York City FC of the MLS. Before playing a game in the MLS, NYCFC has made headlines by signing David Villa and Frank Lampard, two revered veterans who have compiled storied careers playing in Europe for both club and country.
These signings give New York two of the most skilled players in the MLS, but also help Manchester City’s global holdings. Prior to the start of the 2015 season, both players will complete loan spells, Villa with Melbourne and Lampard with Manchester City.
New York head coach Jason Kreis has said the team could receive up to four players from Manchester City on loan, while the English side is also eager to bring American talent through the New York system to the Premier League.
If both sides are truly dedicated to help expand soccer in America at both the youth and professional levels, then this is a great move for the MLS; but if Manchester City has ulterior motives for their own global brand and success in the Premier League, there is a problem. In a time when the MLS is doing everything possible to keep American talent home, they have invited an outsider to come poach them away.