Is MLS Part of FIFA: Everything you Need to Know About Lionel Messi’s New Adventure

Is MLS a Part of FIFA?

After winning the FIFA World Cup 2022 with Argentina, Lionel Messi has begun a new chapter in his footballing career as he joined  Major League Soccer side Inter Miami FC owned by the Manchester United legend David Beckham. 

Messi’s start in the United States has been terrific and he has hit the ground running scoring goals left right and center. He also won his first trophy with the club by winning the League Cup. 

Leo Messi has brought a lot of new audience to the MLS, and a lot of you might be wondering what exactly is MLS and does it fall under the jurisdiction of FIFA? What competitions do they play in? Here we have tried to answer many of your questions. 

What is Major League Soccer (MLS)? 

MLS stands for Major League Soccer. It’s the top professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS was started back in 1993 and began playing games in 1996, making it the top league in North America.

There are 29 teams in MLS now – 26 in the US and 3 in Canada. The league’s goal is to grow and develop soccer in these countries.

The MLS season usually runs from late February or early March until mid-October. Each team plays 34 games, and the team with the best record wins the Supporters’ Shield.

After the regular season, 18 teams make the MLS Cup Playoffs in late October and November. This leads up to the big championship game – the MLS Cup.

The FIFA Connection

MLS is officially part of FIFA, the global soccer governing body. This means MLS follows FIFA’s rules and regulations for professional leagues.

Even though MLS is based in North America, it’s run by CONCACAF, which is the regional soccer federation that MLS is a part of. This FIFA connection has some key benefits for the league and its players.

1. Player Transfers: One big thing is that MLS can do international player transfers. Players from all over the world can join MLS teams, and MLS teams can sell players to other countries. This helps make the league more competitive and diverse.

2. International Competitions: MLS teams get to compete in international tournaments organized by FIFA, like the CONCACAF Champions League. This is similar to the UEFA Champions League in Europe. It allows MLS teams to test themselves against the best from other regions.

3. Player Eligibility: MLS players are eligible to play for their national teams in big competitions like the World Cup. Many MLS players have represented their countries on the world stage, showing off the league’s talent.

4. Regulatory Framework: MLS has to follow all of FIFA’s rules on things like player contracts, transfers, and discipline. This keeps the league professional and well-run.

Competitions Involving MLS Clubs: 

Apart from the MLS and CONCACAF Champions League, here are a few other competitions that American clubs take part in:

  1. Leagues Cup: This is a new tournament where MLS teams play against clubs from Mexico’s Liga MX. It’s a chance for MLS teams to test themselves against some of the best teams in Mexico.
  2. U.S. Open Cup: This is mainly a domestic competition, but MLS teams do participate. It’s open to all pro and amateur clubs in the US, so it’s a diverse and inclusive tournament.
  3. International Friendlies: MLS teams often play exhibition matches against teams from around the world. These games not only showcase the league’s talent, but also provide exciting matchups for fans.
  4. FIFA Club World Cup: When an MLS team wins the CONCACAF Champions League, they get to play in the FIFA Club World Cup, which features champions from different continents. While MLS teams haven’t won it yet, their participation shows the league’s global ambitions.

Over the years, MLS Has Expanded Its Reach and Global Profile

Over the past years, MLS has worked hard to grow its reach and profile around the world. Signing high-profile international stars has been a big part of this strategy.

Bringing in players like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Zlatan Ibrahimović has attracted a lot of attention to MLS, both from fans in North America and globally. These marquee signings have helped raise the league’s profile and showcase the talent on display.

The recent signing of Lionel Messi is an even bigger step in MLS’s quest to go global. Messi is one of the biggest names in world football, and his move to an MLS club is huge news. This has the potential to attract a massive worldwide audience and get more local fans invested in the sport.

Alongside these big-name signings, MLS has also been focused on expanding the league itself. They’ve added new franchises in cities across the United States and Canada. This expansion into new markets has allowed MLS to grow its fanbase and reach even further.

All these efforts – the high-profile player signings and the league expansion – have combined to significantly increase MLS’s global reach and profile over the years. The league is now firmly on the map for football fans around the world.


Is MLS related to FIFA?

MLS is part of CONCACAF, which is one of FIFA’s continental governing bodies for the sport. Thus MLS is related to FIFA.

Can MLS teams play in World Cup?

Yes, if an MLS team wins the CONCACAF Champions Cup they qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.

Is MLS better than Saudi league?

According to rankings by the analytics firm Opta Sports, MLS is considered stronger than the Saudi Pro League.

While the Saudi Pro League ranked 27th on average, MLS placed 15th in the rankings of thousands of clubs across 183 countries.


MLS is definitely part of the global soccer world because of its connection to FIFA.

This FIFA affiliation has allowed MLS to take part in international tournaments. It also helps the league attract top players from around the world.

Plus, MLS players can represent their national teams on the biggest stages. This gives the league global exposure.

Even though MLS is mainly based in North America, its link to FIFA makes it a key part of the worldwide soccer community. This has helped grow the sport’s popularity globally.

What do you think?

Written by TackleFromBehind

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