In 1999, the city of Columbus, Ohio built Columbus Crew Stadium, the first stadium ever built specifically for soccer in the United States. A major goal of MLS management is to build such stadiums, which are often called "soccer-specific stadiums".
The Miami Fusion played in Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, FL, which was a former high school stadium which had been converted into a soccer-specific stadium. However, MLS contracted following the 2001 season, from 12 back to 10 teams, and the Miami Fusion ceased operation, as did the Tampa Bay Mutiny.
A new soccer-specific stadium, the new home of the LA Galaxy of MLS beginning with the 2003 season, recently opened at Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, California. The Galaxy previously played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
MLS attendance was strong the first season, declined slightly each of the following years, before stabilizing in a successful 2002 season.
Quality of play in MLS has improved in the the league's first few years. The success of the United States Men's National Team in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Japan/Korea has been partly attributed to skills built through play in MLS.
Unlike many other professional sports leagues in the United States, MLS is organized as a "single-entity" organization, in which the league contracts directly with the players, in an effort to control spending and maximize exposure. Each team has an owner/investor and the league allows an owner to have more than one team.
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