The 2017 Major League Soccer season will be the 22nd season of Major League Soccer, top division of soccer in the United States and Canada. The regular season is expected to begin in March 2017 and conclude in October 2017. The MLS Cup Playoffs are expected to begin in late October 2017 and conclude with MLS Cup 2017 in December 2017.
The 2017 MLS season will be the 22nd for the league while the addition of expansion clubs Atlanta United and Minnesota United will bring the league to 22 teams.
MLS has changed its postseason set-up frequently during its 20-year history. The playoffs have grown from eight to 12 participants as the league more than doubled in size. Two new teams, Atlanta United and Minnesota United, will grow the circuit to 22 members in 2017.
The league's technical committee will discuss possible changes from the drastic -- such as introducing a group stage similar to what is used in tournaments like the Copa America or World Cup -- to the comparatively benign -- like eliminating away goals as the primary tiebreaker in two-leg series.
Major League Soccer announced that each of the league's 22 clubs will now receive a total of $1.2 million of Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) in 2017, an increase of $400,000 per club from the previously announced $800,000 that was originally earmarked for 2017. In addition to the $1.2 million, expansion clubs Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC will receive an additional $300,000 of Targeted Allocation Money they are due, pro rated from that initial $500,000 investment in each MLS club in 2015.
Atlanta United brings Major League Soccer to the Southeast as the league’s 22nd franchise. The club will celebrate its inaugural season in 2017 and will play in the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium currently under construction downtown. Atlanta United is owned by one of the city’s most influential businessmen and philanthropists, Arthur M. Blank, and is led by club President Darren Eales. Atlanta United’s roster includes four forwards with Kenwyne Jones, Brandon Vazquez, Jeffrey Otoo and Williams, eight midfielders with Kratz, Heath, Miguel Almiron, Hector Villalba, Junior Burgos, Andrew Carleton, Chris Goslin and Chris McCann, defender Parkhurst and goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. After the trades, Atlanta United used seven of its eight available slots for international players. To free up room for more players from other countries, the team traded its pick in the second round of the 2017 draft to Colorado for one more international slot.
Ronaldinho may be out of football at the moment but he is not entirely done with the beautiful game just yet. He was named as a club ambassador at Barcelona but rumours have emerged that he may return as a player in 2017. After a journalist revealed the Brazilian’s staff said that he would join the MLS next year, whilst Sao Paulo have also enquired about his availability. Andre Hernan’s tweet translates to: “SPFC [Sao Paulo] made an informal consultation with Ronaldinho Gaucho for 2017. The player’s staff said he will play MLS next year.”
Minnesota United acquired the third member of their MLS roster, completing a trade for towering defender Joseph Greenspan with the Colorado Rapids in exchange for Minnesota's Third Round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.