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Major League Soccer (MLS) got under way last weekend for the 25th time in its history. With the popularity of the game on the increase in the continent and as a result its media profile also, it comes as no surprise that the 2020 season will see several for FC Barcelona figures involved.
The relationship between North America and Barça is already well established with the Club having a permanent office based in New York. Furthermore, FC Barcelona have made several pre-season tours to the US, the most recent being last summer when they played fixtures against Napoli in both Ann Arbor, Michigan and Miami, Florida.
Blaugrana presence in Quebec
Canadian club Montreal Impact is the MLS club currently with the biggest Barça influence. The Quebec based team kicked off their season at the weekend with a 2-1 win over New England Revolution to give their new coach, former Arsenal and Barça legend Thierry Henry, all three points on his league debut in charge.
Also making his debut in that game for Montreal Impact was striker Bojan Krkic, who played for Barça between 2007 and 2011. Rounding off the trio of former blaugranes at the Canadian is midfielder Ballou Tabla, who is now in his second spell with the Impact having joined on loan from Barça B in August 2019.
Barça influence from the dugout and on the field
Another club with a former blaugrana player as coach is Atlanta United. Dutchman Frank de Boer played for Barça between 1998 and 2003 and in December 2018 took over at the MLS club from Georgia as coach, replacing another ex-Barça man, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.
Elsewhere, Los Angeles Galaxy, the most successful club in the league’s history with five MLS titles, boast ex-Barça man Jonathan dos Santos in midfield. Andreu Fontàs and Ilie Sánchez are team mates at Sporting Kansas City and Oriol Rosell is on his second MLS club with Orlando City having previously also played for Sporting Kansas City.
Past MLS blaugranes
During its 25 season history, the league has also seen FC Barcelona legends David Villa and Rafa Márquez grace its ranks along with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Víctor Rodríguez, Víctor Vázquez and Giovani dos Santos, all of them bringing a little bit of Barça to the MLS.
16 Barça Academies in North America
It should also be noted that FC Barcelona has a total of 16 Barça Academies in the United States. Eleven are in the United States (Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, Virginia, PRO Miami, PRO New York and Residency Arizona), and five more are in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver).
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