Landmark 20th Season Kicks Off Friday, March 6
Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Major League Soccer Players Union have reached an agreement in principle on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) covering five seasons, commencing with the 2015 season and continuing through the 2019 season.
“We are pleased to finalize the framework for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with our players,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We now enter our 20th season with enormous momentum with our new television partnerships, dynamic star players from the U.S., Canada and abroad, and two new expansion teams in New York City and Orlando that will debut in front of more than 60,000 fans on Sunday in the Citrus Bowl. This agreement will provide a platform for our players, ownership and management to work together to help build Major League Soccer into one of the great soccer leagues in the world.”
The concluding phase of the negotiations was conducted under the auspices of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Deputy Director of Mediation Services and Field Operations Scot Beckenbaugh and Mediator Peter Donatello.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league,” said Bob Foose, Executive Director of the MLS Players Union. “We are pleased to finally turn our fans attention back to our players and the competition on the field as we get started on the 2015 season.”
Major League Soccer’s 20th season kicks off Friday, March 6 when the Chicago Fire take on the defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy in a nationally televised match on UniMás at 10 p.m. ET. The other 18 MLS clubs are in action on March 7 and 8, including a tripleheader on “MLS Soccer Sunday” when expansion teams Orlando City SC and New York City FC battle in front of 60,000 fans in the Citrus Bowl (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2), and Fox Sports 1 televises back-to-back MLS matches when Sporting Kansas City host the New York Red Bulls (7 p.m. ET) and Seattle Sounders FC welcome 2014 MLS Cup runners-up, the New England Revolution (9:30 p.m. ET).
Columbus Crew SC shared their thoughts on the agreement:
Statement from Crew SC Investor-Operator and Chairman Anthony Precourt: “We are pleased that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has been reached in principle between Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union. This is positive news for fans of this sport in North America, and of course in Columbus. As our team turns its attention to the 2015 MLS campaign, Columbus Crew SC strives to continue to be successful on and off the pitch, combining good business and good soccer. We look forward to delivering a first-class experience in 2015 for supporters and partners at MAPFRE Stadium and we eagerly anticipate beginning our historic 20th year in the League.”
Statement from Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter: “This is great news for soccer fans across North America. We are excited to start the season and are grateful for the hard work put in by both parties in their efforts to reach an agreement.”
Statement from club representative to the MLS Players Union Ethan Finlay: “We are pleased to have reached a new five year collective bargaining agreement with the League. The players are excited to turn our focus back to the field.”