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MLS begins its 26th season: Get to know the league St. Louis City SC will join

MLS begins its 26th season: Get to know the league St. Louis City SC will join

Just over 25 years ago, on April 6, 1996, Major League Soccer played its first game on a narrow college football field in San Jose, Calif. Eric Wynalda of what was then called the Clash (they’re now the Earthquakes) scored the only goal, giving the home team the win and avoiding one of the league’s biggest fears, that its inaugural game would be a 0-0 tie.

Season 26 of MLS begins Friday, and, after some uncertain early steps, the league has grown and is here to stay. Though St. Louis’ team, City SC, won’t begin play until Season 28 in 2023, it doesn’t hurt to get started on knowing the league because, for the uninitiated, MLS is a different animal than the other major North American leagues: A very long season in terms of the calendar, multiple competitions going on at once and incredibly arcane roster and salary provisions, and those are just some of the differences. And like other North American leagues, but unlike most other soccer leagues, there are playoffs.

If you’re new to soccer at large or MLS in general, here’s a primer to the ins and outs and nuts and bolts of the league soon to call St. Louis home:

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