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MLS favors Premier League model

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08:05 AM ET 03.28 | Major League Soccer begins its 13th season Saturday, with an all-time high of 14 teams and a highest-ever average player salary of $115,000. Meanwhile, England's Premier League is approaching the end of its 16th season. It has 20 teams and its players earned an average of $1.35 million a year in 2006. The goal of MLS, according to Ivan Gazidis, the league's deputy commissioner, is to follow the Premier League's lead, but slowly and carefully enough so that the transition doesn't bring the entire edifice tumbling to the ground. It could be decades, if ever, before MLS attains a similar level, but it is going about it in the correct manner. Expansion is in progress. The league will have 16 teams by 2010 and 18 not long thereafter. Soccer-specific stadiums are being built. New investors have come on board. The emphasis now has shifted to the quality of MLS play.

Los Angeles Times

David Beckham, AP David Beckham, AP

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