More Sports


Soccer (Association Football)


10 Most Common Soccer InjuriesFootball Versus SoccerSoccer United States National TeamStreet SoccerThree Lions Football's Coming HomeTop 10 Richest Soccer PlayersTop 10 Soccer BooksTop 10 Soccer BrandsTop 10 Soccer Video GamesTop 5 Ranked Mens Soccer Players Of All TimeTop 5 Soccer MoviesTop 6 Best Womens Soccer Players Of All TimeWhy Do People Call Football Soccer?Why Is Soccer Not Popular In America?


History Of SoccerLearn SoccerSoccer 101Soccer BasicsSoccer DribblingSoccer Game TypesSoccer Officials And RefereesSoccer Pass TypesSoccer PossessionSoccer Shot TypesSoccer SummarySoccer Turnover


Soccer Equipment List


Soccer Fifa


3-5-2 Soccer Formation4-1-4-1 Soccer Formation4-2-3-1 Soccer Formation4-2-4 Soccer Formation4-3-3 Soccer Formation4-4-2 Soccer Formation4-5-1 Soccer FormationSoccer 1-2-7 FormationSoccer 2-3-5 FormationSoccer 4-3-2-1 FormationSoccer 4-4-1-1 FormationSoccer 4-6-0 FormationSoccer 5-4-1 FormationSoccer Formations


12th Man SoccerAssociation FootballFourth Official In SoccerGd In SoccerSoccer BreakawaySoccer Cap TiedSoccer CdmSoccer Clean SheetSoccer ClearSoccer ComposureSoccer DrawSoccer DribblerSoccer EqualizerSoccer FcSoccer Final WhistleSoccer Golden GoalSoccer Hat TrickSoccer Lingo And TerminologySoccer Neutral GroundSoccer Pitch InvasionSoccer RelegationSoccer Short HandedSoccer Squad Rotation System


Soccer BundesligaSoccer England Premier LeagueSoccer English Football AssociationSoccer Leagues ListSoccer Uefa Champions League


Mls Promotion And RelegationMls Soccer Club ProcessSoccer Mls Franchise Relocation

MLS Teams

Atlanta United FcChicago FireColorado RapidsColumbus Crew ScDc UnitedFc CincinnatiFc DallasHouston DynamoLa GalaxyLos Angeles FcMinnesota United FcMontreal ImpactNew England RevolutionNew York City FcNew York Red BullsOffsides In SoccerOrlando City ScPhiladelphia UnionPortland TimbersReal Salt LakeSan Jose EarthquakesSeattle Sounders FcSoccer MLS Teams ListSporting Kansas CityToronto FcVancouver Whitecaps


Alex Morgan Bio And FactsCristiano Ronaldo Bio And FactsDavid Beckham Bio And FactsLionel Messi Bio And FactsMia Hamm Bio And FactsNeymar Jr. Bio And FactsPelé Bio And Facts


Soccer Attacking MidfielderSoccer CaptainSoccer Center ForwardSoccer CenterbackSoccer DefenderSoccer Defender TypesSoccer DefenseSoccer DefensemanSoccer Defensive MidfielderSoccer ForwardSoccer FullbackSoccer GoalkeeperSoccer Head RefereeSoccer Holding MidfielderSoccer LinesmanSoccer LinkmanSoccer Midfield AnchorSoccer MidfielderSoccer OffenseSoccer Outside BackSoccer Penalty TakerSoccer Player PositionsSoccer PoachersSoccer RefereeSoccer StopperSoccer StrikerSoccer SweeperSoccer Two Way MidfielderSoccer Winger


Are Fifa World Cup Games Fixed?How Does Scoring Work In Soccer?How Does Soccer Betting Work?Is It Called Soccer Or Football?Is Soccer An Olympic Sport?


Aggregate Score SoccerSlide Tackle In SoccerSoccer Added TimeSoccer Advantage RuleSoccer Away Goals RuleSoccer Back Pass RuleSoccer Boundary RulesSoccer Clock RulesSoccer Coin Toss RulesSoccer Corner KicksSoccer Dead Ball RulesSoccer Designated Player RuleSoccer Extra TimeSoccer FlopsSoccer FoulsSoccer Free KickSoccer Game Clock RulesSoccer Game LengthSoccer Goal KickSoccer Goal Line TechnologySoccer Halftime RulesSoccer IntermissionSoccer KickoffSoccer Out Of BoundsSoccer Passing RulesSoccer Penalty CardsSoccer Penalty KickSoccer Penalty ShootoutSoccer Penalty ShotSoccer PeriodsSoccer Red CardsSoccer Rules And RegulationsSoccer Scoring RulesSoccer ShootingSoccer Shootout RulesSoccer Stoppage TimeSoccer Substitution RulesSoccer TackleSoccer Throw InsSoccer TimeoutsSoccer Transfer WindowSoccer Two Legged TieSoccer Unsportsmanlike ConductSoccer VARSoccer Var Instant ReplaySoccer Yellow CardThe Top 10 Rules Of SoccerWhat Are The Major Fouls In Soccer?What Are The Rules Of Soccer?What Are The Rules of High School Soccer?What Is Considered A Foul In Soccer?What Is The Two Touch Rule In Soccer?

Soccer Field

Endline SoccerSoccer Attacking HalfSoccer Attacking ThirdSoccer BylineSoccer Center CircleSoccer Center SpotSoccer CornerSoccer Corner FlagsSoccer Defensive HalfSoccer Defensive ThirdSoccer Field ComponentsSoccer Field DimensionsSoccer Field Of PlaySoccer Goal AreaSoccer Goal LineSoccer Middle ThirdSoccer MidfieldSoccer Midfield LineSoccer Near PostSoccer Offensive HalfSoccer Penalty ArcSoccer Penalty AreaSoccer Penalty BoxSoccer Penalty SpotSoccer PitchSoccer Pitch LinesSoccer PostSoccer SidelineSoccer The FieldSoccer Thirds Of The FieldSoccer Top CornerSoccer Touchline


1 On 1 SoccerSoccer 2 On 1Soccer 3 On 2Soccer Back TackleSoccer CrossSoccer Cut The AngleSoccer Defensive WallSoccer DeflectionSoccer FootworkSoccer Instep Kick And PassSoccer InterceptSoccer Man To ManSoccer Offensive And Defense StrategySoccer Set PieceSoccer ShapeSoccer Shooting Technique


Soccer Africa Cup Of NationsSoccer Tournaments List

Mls Promotion And Relegation

Table of Contents



The short answer? When Major League Soccer (MLS) was founded in the aftermath of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, (FIFA states that in order to host a World Cup, you must have a national professional league. They gave the United States an exemption, with the contingency that a league would be formed after the tournament.) the league was founded as a Single Entity, meaning that teams were not individually owned. All teams are owned by the league, with individual investor/operators (the owners) who handle specific franchises. That being said, this specific topic has come under the microscope in recent years.


Why No Promotion/Relegation

As we just covered, MLS is set up different than most other sports leagues. Because of the single entity structure and "franchises," instead of Football Clubs (like the rest of the world), owners buy into MLS, not into an American Soccer System that promotes or demotes teams into tiers. The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) is the United States' FIFA representative organization, and decided that not only are they fine with no promotion/relegation, but officially ruled that MLS is the top soccer league in the United States.


Lower Leagues

Just because Major League Soccer is the top league in the United States does not mean that there are not lower division soccer clubs that exist. In fact, in 2018, the United Soccer League (USL) has been given a Division II status by the USSF, one division below MLS. The USL is comprised of 33 clubs, many with an affiliation to an MLS franchise. This affiliation allows the MLS to loan players to the designated USL team.

Prior to 2018, the North American Soccer League (NASL) had operated since 2011 as another Division II league, only to cancel their 2018 campaign after filing legal action against the USSF.


Pending Litigation

There are two separate litigations that could dramatically impact this entire topic moving forward. The first is the previously mentioned antitrust lawsuit brought against the USSF by the NASL. The NASL fell below the minimum teams required for divisional status according to the USSF rules. When the USSF removed all division status from NASL, the latter filed the litigation, arguing that there should be no divisions in the United States.

A separate, yet related case against the USSF has been filed by two lower level clubs. Miami FC (NASL) and Stockade FC (National Premier Soccer League) have filed a case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. This court handles sporting specific issues with many organizations, but the most pertinent to this discussion is FIFA. The club's argue that the USSF is in violation of the FIFA rules, specifically, in qualification for the World Cup. FIFA rules state that for a nation to be eligible for a World Cup, that nation's domestic league must enforce promotion relegation. (Under Article 9, Page 73)

While neither case has been resolved, the current status quo is being challenged. Whether this results in promotion/relegation remains to be seen.



Major League Soccer (MLS) has never adopted promotion and relegation and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has never ordered them to implement it. The USSF could rule that Major League Soccer has to adopt promotion and relegation to be officially deemed the top league in the United States, but at this juncture, MLS has far more resources than any other league, any lack of designation would have little impact.

Rather, USSF has decided that assisting MLS as currently constructed is the best course of action for the growth and health of soccer in the United States.

However, there is a pending case that could impact all of this.


Case in the Court for Arbitration for Sport

All of this may change. As we talked about more in depth in another question, there is currently a pending case with the Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland that could impact the USSF's decision to continue without promotion and relegation.

Miami FC (NASL) and Stockade FC (National Premier Soccer League) have filed a case with the CAS over promotion and relegation. This court handles sporting specific issues with many organizations, but the most pertinent to this discussion is FIFA. The club's argue that the USSF is in violation of the FIFA rules, specifically, in qualification for the World Cup. FIFA rules state that for a nation to be eligible for a World Cup, that nation's domestic league must enforce promotion relegation. (Under Article 9, Page 73) We likely won't know for some time the outcome of this case.


  • am-300x250.jpg
  • ap-300x250.png