After his stellar debut with the Chicago Fire, Bastian Schweinsteiger just may be the next big name to cross the pond over to MLS.
Schweinsteiger, a former 2014 FIFA World Cup™ champion with his native Germany and 2013 UEFA Champions league winner with Bayern Munich before moving to Old Trafford on a three-year £6.5 million transfer ($8.09 million USD) after 17 years with the Reds.
At Manchester United, Schweinsteiger tallied one goal in 18 first-team apps for the Red Devils before ultimately being demoted by Jose Mourinho, and ultimately being allowed to leave for the Chicago Fire.[Rob]
In his first game with the Fire, Bastian Schweinsteiger, tallied a game-tying goal vs. the Montreal Impact in a 2-2 draw.
At age 32, and still in his proverbial prime, could the Kolbermoor, West Germany native with a name worthy of a James Bond villain/Cold War spy of the 80’s, and married to Serbian stunner and tennis hottie, Ana Ivanovic—be the next big-name European star to come over to MLS?
While he didn’t get the around-the-clock, much-ballyhooed welcome that David Beckham did when he came to the Los Angeles Galaxy back in 2007, Schweinsteiger is the latest in a line former European stars such as Kaka (Orlando City), David Villa and Frank Lampard (New York City FC), Theirry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Steven Gerrard (Los Angeles Galaxy) and homegrown American stars such as Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) and Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC).
With rumors that other big names such as Wayne Rooney, Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic likely to come to MLS within the next 1-2 years, is this a sign of the MLS becoming recognized as one of the top soccer leagues in the world, or just one last desperate money grab for aging Euro stars?
This isn’t your dad’s now-defunct North American Soccer League (NASL) of the late 70’s and early 80’s that got the older past-their-prime versions of Pele, the late Johan Cruyff or Franz Beckenbauer, but a more updated, hip and cooler version of your older brother’s who first got you into watching footy with him on early Saturday mornings at his local pub.
There is no doubt that the MLS is on the come-up both domestically and abroad. Landing another world-renowned player of Bastian Schweinsteiger and his champion-wining pedigree is a win-win for the now 22-year old upstart league.
Hopefully, Schweinsteiger is not the last of a mere trickle of European names to come over, but the first drop of the proverbial dam bursting that truly puts the MLS on the global map of soccer.