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MLS Commissioner Don Garber's letter to fans ahead of the 2018 season

MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Thursday shared the following message with club supporters ahead of the start of the 2018 MLS season on Saturday, March 3.

Dear MLS Supporters,

As Major League Soccer begins its 23rd season this weekend with 10 matches on the schedule, I wanted to take this moment to thank you for supporting your club and for your dedication to MLS during this period of explosive growth for the game across the United States and Canada.

Thanks to you, the 2017 MLS season was the most successful in league history as we set another attendance record and saw a significant rise in our broadcast viewership on ESPN, FOX Sports, Univision, TSN and TVA Sports. On the field, some of the best young talent in the world joined MLS clubs, and we continue to see players developed in MLS academies make an impact with their first team. That trend continues in 2018 as our clubs have signed the youngest group of newcomers in league history.

The 2018 season will see the debut of our newest club, Los Angeles Football Club, as they begin play on Sunday at Seattle in a match on ESPN. We are pleased to welcome back former U.S. National Team coach Bob Bradley as coach of LAFC. There’s no doubt an intense rivalry will develop quickly with the LA Galaxy, an organization very familiar with championships. In April, LAFC will open Banc of California Stadium, a spectacular venue located in Los Angeles’ urban core.

In addition, Audi Field, the new home of D.C. United, opens this summer in the heart of our nation’s capital. By next season, when Minnesota United opens Allianz Field, MLS will have 20 stadiums built for soccer.

We have an exciting soccer calendar in 2018. The FIFA World Cup kicks off in June, featuring more MLS players than ever before. The MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will take place on Aug. 1 before a massive crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of Atlanta United. Heineken Rivalry Week returns Aug. 22-26 featuring the most action-packed slate of games ever in this series, and Decision Day presented by AT&T arrives on Oct. 28, with 11 matches all beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET in the final quest for berths and seeding in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

Finally, we still have our eye on the future as MLS continues to grow. We recently announced Miami and Nashville as new expansion teams, and three more clubs will join our league soon as we reach our goal of having 28 clubs across North America in the next five years. This enormous progress could not happen without you, our most loyal supporters, who are with us year in and year out.

On behalf of all of our clubs, players and staff, thank you again for your support and enjoy the 2018 season!

Commissioner Don Garber

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