MLS Plans to Take Break During 2026 Season for World Cup

Major League Soccer has announced that it will be taking a break during the 2026 season to accommodate the World Cup. This decision was made in order to prevent incomplete rosters and ensure that the league can operate smoothly throughout the duration of the competition. Brad Pursel, the senior vice president of MLS game schedule management, provided some insight into the planning process for the upcoming seasons.

Pursel mentioned that there is an ongoing dialogue with the MLS clubs regarding the challenges faced during FIFA windows and international competitions. The league is already looking ahead to 2025, 2026, and 2027 to make adjustments to the schedules so that they do not lose too many players to conflicting tournaments.

The MLS regular season typically runs from late February to Decision Day in October, with playoffs taking place from November to the MLS Cup in early December. However, with the introduction of the World Cup break, the league will need to adjust its calendar accordingly.

Leagues Cup Participation

MLS also takes a summer break to participate in the Leagues Cup, a competition between MLS and Liga MX teams held throughout the United States. While Pursel mentioned that the Leagues Cup will remain a priority during 2026, there may be changes or modifications to the tournament to accommodate the necessary calendar adjustments.

Despite honoring several FIFA windows throughout the 2024 season, MLS did not halt for the 2024 Copa América tournament hosted by the United States. This decision meant that teams like Inter Miami CF had to compete without key international players like Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. Pursel emphasized the importance of maintaining the number of match dates necessary for the season while recognizing the absence of these players.

Major League Soccer is making proactive decisions to navigate the challenges of international competitions and FIFA windows in the upcoming seasons. By pausing the league during the 2026 World Cup and making adjustments to the schedules, MLS aims to ensure the smooth operation of the league while also maintaining the excitement of competitions like the Leagues Cup. Despite the potential absence of key international players during tournaments like the Copa América, the league remains committed to providing an exciting and competitive season for fans and players alike.

Soccer

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