Vancouver Whitecaps star Jay DeMerit believes the summer visits of clubs from Europe helps increase the profile of Major League Soccer.
Recently, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Celtic – among others – have taken pre-season trips to North America to take on MLS clubs but not everybody is happy about the now annual activity.
Fans from the involved clubs feel that the ‘friendly’ matches interrupt their respective MLS seasons but DeMerit, who is set to take on Chelsea with the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday, is of the belief that the tours actually help the state of the game in the region.
“I think these games are important to put a spotlight on soccer in America. Nothing puts a spotlight on any bigger than the likes of a Chelsea or Manchester United, those teams that have come and do a lot of North American tours ever year,” he told philly.com’s The Goalkeeper.
“To have Chelsea here, and to have their names on the [roster] sheet that you walk out with that people know, it’s something that’s important. There’s a certain way to grow soccer – and yes, it takes a while in the North American market, but I think they’re doing a good job.
“Every year they are doing a better and better job at filling the stadiums and knowing the names on those sheets.