MLS has Identity Crisis Without Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan

Major League Soccer, just three months from starting its 20th season, has found itself with an identity crisis. Landon Donovan the soccer legend from the U.S. has retired and Thierry Henry the famed Frenchmen has departed New York.

That means the MLS has lost a huge part of its notoriety and character.

The absence of Henry and Donovan will be felt since the duo helped the league immensely over the past 4 seasons for Henry and the past 14 for Donovan.

In certain ways, the league was shaped by Donovan into what it now is, when pursuing his own happiness he decided to devote most of his career on the pitch to the MLS.

Donovan could not have asked for a better end to his MLS and professional soccer career than to win his sixth title in the league last Sunday.

Henry opened the MLS door for many players who were already established as European stars showing them that playing in the MLS was more than just a retirement league or a place to collect one final pay check.

Players such as Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Obafemi Martins never would have taken that trip across the pond without the validation that Henry gave the MLS as a worthy league.

Little by little, the gap between the MLS and Europe closes as with each new transfer window opens and closes more players from Europe and South America joins players like Keane and now Clint Dempsey stateside.

There is no doubt that Henry and Donovan’s contributions will be lasting over the long term with one full generation of players using the two as examples.

However, now without the likes of Donovan or Henry the league is left with Keane and Dempsey and it is unknown if their clout will be able to push the MLS more into the spotlight and enlist the next wave of stars to the league both globally and domestically, the way Henry and Donovan did for so many years.

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David makes his home in Guatemala and follows the worlds greatest games from there. David contributes on all leagues across the world and had over 25 years experience. He has covered 10 World Cups and will do so again this year in Brazil

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