Arsene Wenger Foolishly Calls MLS “Retirement League”


Aresenal manager Arsene Wenger is known for voicing his opinion. Sometimes he is met with harsh critics for his thoughts. Wenger’s comments about MLS a “retirement league” should be faced with strong opposition and shows just how misguided and foolish Wenger sounds.

"“You have two steps. Being completely at the top finishes when you are 34 at the latest,” Wenger told the Arsenal website.  “After that, you have different leagues like the MLS and the Indian league. I encourage players to play as long as possible if they really love it.”"

Does EPL have stronger talent than MLS? Yes, but that doesn’t mean MLS is a “retirement league.” In the league’s earlier years, MLS was a “retirement league” drawing the talent of older players, but that isn’t true anymore. USMNT stars Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi, and Matt Besler are playing in the league during the prime of their career. The latter two signed contract extensions with Sporting KC instead of exploring options in Europe.

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Wenger is right on one hand saying older players can find a spot on a MLS roster when they are older. However, that doesn’t make them a “retirement league.” The same players could compete among the lower EPL teams or other English divisions as well.

As a league, MLS is more complete and more competitive from top to bottom. The league is attracting more and more talent to the chagrin of Jurgen Klinsmann and Wenger.

At the same time, it’s a slap in the face to compare MLS to the Indian Soccer league. MLS is miles ahead of the ISL. The leagues are only similar because they sit second fiddle to a bigger sport as they try to bring in fans- NFL for MLS and Cricket for ISL. Other than that, there is little comparison between MLS and ISL. MLS has many more national team stars than ISL does and is doing more for the growth of soccer as well.

Wenger’s latest comments come during the international break. Instead of bashing on MLS and other leagues, maybe he should be focusing on his own team. Aresenal is sitting in sixth place in the EPL standings and hasn’t looked overly impressive this year. They face Manchester United out of the break and will look not to drop more critical points.

While there will always be opinions and comments about MLS, some are more warranted than not. The league should do nothing with Wenger’s latests antics. They are a growing and ambitious league. Yes, certain things need to be fixed and adjusted, but the league itself has only been around for 19 years.

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There are going to be growing pains and adjustments that are needed to be made. 2015 will be a big year for MLS. One thing MLS is not as 2015 approaches is a “retirement league.” Frank Lampard’s arrival to NYCFC as a 36-year old may support Wenger, but he could still bring it during his loan with Manchester City. There are more players in their prime coming to MLS than ever before.

MLS is no longer in the days of David Beckham and a major influx of older players gracing their presence in MLS. The league no longer needs that to survive and grow like it did back then. The league has grown tremendously in its 19-year existence and the future is bright even with Wenger foolishly calling it a “retirement league”.

Next: Arsene Wenger is right, MLS is a 'Retirement League'