Major League Soccer on Wednesday unveiled plans for its 25th Season Celebration, which will celebrate the league's past while expanding on the foundation it has built over an extensive period of growth.
The celebration will feature a variety of unique experiences and marquee events, as well as dedicated content and programming from the league and its partners. In addition, the league will welcome Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC as expansion clubs, taking the total number of teams for the 2020 season up to 26.
“Our 25th season will celebrate our rich history by honoring the countless people behind the growth of our league and reflecting upon many of the memorable moments in our history,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a league statement. “During this season-long celebration, we’ll also focus on our exciting future as we continue on our path to become one of the top leagues in the world.”
The 25th season officially kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 9, with the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, which will be streamed live on Twitter (12 pm ET). The regular season begins play on Saturday, Feb. 29 and continues all the way through MLS Cup.
Fans will notice a couple of new design elements around the 25th season as well. The most noticeable will be the special 25th season crest (pictured above), while on the field fans will notice a new font for names and numbers on players' jerseys. Teams will also be playing with a special 25th season celebration ball, the 2020 MLS adidas NATIVO XXV, which fill feature blue and green colors in a nod to the first MLS ball in 1996.
There will also be a multitude of events and content throughout the year to celebrate the league's 25th season.
On Feb. 5, adidas will unveil the league's complete collection of 2020 jerseys in advance of New York City's Fashion Week with the help of celebrity fans including Houston Texans All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, actor and director Colin Hanks and Canadian R&B duo Majid Jordan. The adidas jerseys will also be revealed virtually across EA Sports FIFA channels after the real-world unveiling.
There will also be some star power involved as MLS and Bodyarmor, the league's official sports drink partner in the US, host a media event and youth soccer skills challenge at LAFC's Banc of California Stadium on Jan. 15, featuring NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
MLS will also be producing a full slate of content, including video series, feature films, and fan-engagement programming to bring to life the stories that have defined the league's first 25 years. Highlights include:
- "The 25 Greatest" – Which will see fans, MLS Greats and technical staff select the top 25 players from the league's first quarter-century.
- "The Greatest Goal" – In which fans will help determine the greatest goal in 25 MLS seasons.
- MLS Feature Film – A definitive documentary about the birth and growth of MLS during its first 25 years.
- "El Toque Latino" – A three-part video series featuring exclusive interviews and rare archival footage showcasing the contributions and influence of Latin American players in 25 years of MLS.
- "Legacy" — A 12-part long-form editorial series exploring some of the lesser-known moments and personalities that have laid the foundation for MLS's next 25 years.
A couple of annual MLS events will have a 25th-season touch as well. The 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will be a first-of-its-kind matchup between the MLS All-Stars and Liga MX All-Stars and will feature a special edition 25th Season jersey. MLS Cup, meanwhile, will feature a pre-match ceremony highlighting 25 seasons of MLS.
Fans should also keep an eye out for the Since '96 retro collection from Mitchell & Ness, which will have merchandise from eight original MLS clubs as well as Portland, Seattle and Vancouver.