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Report: MLS nearing schedule change

The SportsXchange

Major League Soccer labeled as "rumors" a report that the league is nearing a change to a European-style schedule that would start as soon as next year.

Currently, MLS kicks off its season in March, with the title-deciding MLS Cup scheduled for early December.

The top European leagues start in mid-August and run through early May. According to the New York Daily News, MLS is eyeing a schedule that would run late July or early August to late May or early June, with a six- to eight-week winter break.

However, Dan Courtemanche, MLS' executive vice president of communications, wrote on Twitter: "'Rumors' is an appropriate way to classify it. MLS has reviewed many possible schedule formats throughout the years."

MLS' failure to follow the schedule of top leagues is viewed as a hindrance to soccer development in the United States, in particular, the U.S. men's national team. The league does not always stop play for international fixture dates, such as last weekend, when the major European leagues were idle with top players off helping their countries in World Cup qualifying.

ESPN.com noted that 14 of the 19 MLS teams play in cold-weather locations, where attendance might dip for winter games.
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