SPORTS
03/10/2014 06:49 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2014

11 Reasons You Should Be Watching MLS In 2014

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Life is short and there is no stoppage time.

With only a few precious hours in each day and so very many options when it comes to spending them, sports fans must choose carefully how to allot their time. Entering its 19th season, Major League Soccer is giving even causal fans of its sport more reasons to watch the stateside action than ever before. One of those reasons -- U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey -- set up the dramatic late game-winning goal in MLS' 2014 season opener.

While the domestic iteration of the world's beautiful game doesn't include the work of preeminent football artists like Messi and Zlatan, MLS clubs are putting increasingly talented sides on the field in front of increasingly passionate supporters. Both groups can be worth the price of admission. Thanks to the return of Dempsey and Michael Bradley, MLS players will play an outsized role in determining the United States' success in the upcoming World Cup in Brazil. Founded in part because FIFA wanted the United States to have its own top-flight domestic soccer league in order to host the 1994 World Cup, MLS will be the home circuit for several key members of the 2014 team heading for Brazil in June.

From prepping for the upcoming World Cup to keeping up with societal change, here are 11 of the reasons you should be watching Major League Soccer in 2014:

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11 Reasons You Should Be Watching MLS In 2014
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