So one of the perks of being a season ticket holder of the San Jose Earthquakes is getting first access to tickets at Avaya Stadium where the Earthquakes play. It just so happened that the MLS All-Star game happened to be taking place in San Jose in our first year being ticket holders. I love checking out these kinds of things so naturally I had to snatch up the tickets as soon as they were available. I honestly was never familiar with how all star week worked in Major League Soccer, but it is interesting to compare it to the NBA, NFL and NHL; which most sports fans are familiar with.
The MLS all star week and game are an entirely a different concept from the other major American sports leagues. In the more popular American sports leagues, all stars are chosen either based on performance or fan popularity and play other all stars from the same league. The teams are usually based on conference or geography(or both). The MLS takes a different approach. They do choose a team which is based upon performance and fan popularity. However, they fill a single MLS team and take on a top team from a top international league, which is in stark contrast to what was aforementioned. In this case the MLS all stars took on Arsenal from the Premier League.
I have to admit it was a pretty cool concept. For starters, it gives American soccer fans the opportunity to see a more "popular" club in the United States in Arsenal, but it also provides the MLS the opportunity to validate itself against more prestigious soccer leagues. From what I've been told, the MLS players actually "try" (I use try loosely because it is still an all star game so I'm sure it's not their 100%) to help validate their league and themselves also which makes it cool in that sense. It was also nice to see the who's who in the MLS as Casey and I are somewhat new to the MLS scene. All in all it was a really fun time with great soccer, cool pre and post game activities, and the opportunity to see a premier league team live in person at our home stadium. Unfortunately the MLS lost(shockingly, it was a rare loss for the MLS all star team to lose to an European team), but it was still a great time!