Is MLS part of FIFA?

Is MLS part of FIFA? May, 1 2023 Is MLS part of FIFA?

Introduction to FIFA and MLS

In this article, we will explore the relationship between the Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). As a soccer fan, you might be wondering how these two organizations are connected, and whether the MLS is part of FIFA. So, let's start by understanding what FIFA and MLS are, and their roles in the world of soccer.

Understanding FIFA and Its Role

FIFA is the international governing body for soccer, overseeing the sport on a global level. Founded in 1904, its primary mission is to promote and develop the game of soccer across the globe. FIFA is responsible for organizing various international soccer events, with the most prestigious being the FIFA World Cup. It also sets the rules and regulations for how the sport is played, ensuring a consistent experience for players and fans worldwide.

Getting to Know MLS

The Major League Soccer (MLS) is a professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, founded in 1993. It currently consists of 27 teams, 24 from the United States and 3 from Canada. The MLS, like other soccer leagues around the world, operates on a franchise system, with each team owned and operated by individual investors. The league follows a regular-season schedule from March to October, with playoffs in November and December, culminating in the MLS Cup, the league's championship game.

MLS's Relationship with FIFA

So, is the MLS part of FIFA? In short, yes. The MLS, like other soccer leagues across the globe, is affiliated with FIFA through its respective national governing body, which, in this case, is the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA). These national associations are responsible for overseeing soccer in their countries and are members of FIFA, making the MLS indirectly part of FIFA.

FIFA's Influence on MLS

Since the MLS is part of FIFA, it must adhere to FIFA's rules and regulations. This includes following the Laws of the Game, the official rules for soccer established by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), of which FIFA is a member. Additionally, MLS teams and players must also abide by FIFA's rules regarding player transfers, contracts, and disciplinary actions.

MLS's Participation in International Soccer

As part of FIFA, MLS teams and players can participate in international competitions and tournaments, such as the FIFA Club World Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League. MLS players can also be called up to represent their respective national teams in international competitions like the FIFA World Cup, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and others.

FIFA and the Growth of Soccer in the United States

FIFA played a significant role in the growth of soccer in the United States, especially when it awarded the country the hosting rights for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. This event led to the creation of the MLS, which has since contributed to the development of soccer in the U.S. and Canada. FIFA's continued support and recognition of the MLS has helped the league attract high-profile players and coaches from around the world, thus increasing the quality of soccer in North America.

Comparing MLS with Other FIFA-affiliated Leagues

While the MLS is part of FIFA, it is essential to understand that it is just one of many leagues worldwide affiliated with the organization. Other top leagues include the English Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, and Germany's Bundesliga. These leagues are often considered more prestigious due to their long history and the high level of competition. However, the MLS has made significant strides in recent years and is growing in popularity and competitiveness.


In conclusion, the MLS is indeed part of FIFA, as it is affiliated through its respective national governing bodies, the USSF and CSA. This relationship allows the league and its players to participate in international competitions and adhere to FIFA's rules and regulations. With FIFA's support, the MLS has grown in stature and continues to make significant strides in the world of soccer.