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Timeline of Major League Soccer's 25 years

(Reuters) - A time line of the 25-year history of Major League Soccer:


Dec. 17 - Alan Bothenberg, chairman of World Cup 1994, announces Major League Soccer, with official formation in February 1995.


June - Columbus, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, San Jose and Washington announced as first MLS teams.


June 6 - Dallas, Denver and Kansas City join MLS, to begin play in 1996.

Nov. 22 - Doug Logan named MLS’s first commissioner, president and chief executive.


April 6 - The San Jose Clash defeat D.C. United in the first MLS regular season game before 31,000 fans at Spartan Stadium in San Jose.

Oct. 20 - D.C. United wins the first MLS Cup by defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 as 34,643 fans watch at Foxboro Stadium.


April 9 - Chicago and South Florida announced as MLS expansion teams for the 1998 season, giving the league 12 teams.

October - ABC, ESPN and MLS agree to six-year TV deal through the 2003 season.


May 15 - Columbus Crew opens the first major league, soccer-specific stadium in the United States before a sell-out crowd of 24,741. The new facility costs $28.5 million.

Aug. 4 - Don Garber becomes MLS commissioner, replacing Logan.


Jan. 9 - The struggling Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion franchises fold.


Dec. 1 - MLS and the MLS Players Union sign the league’s first collective bargaining agreement


Jan. 11 - David Beckham brings a new buzz to the league when he announces he will join the LA Galaxy and sign a five-year, $250 million deal.

April 28 - Toronto FC play their first home match, becoming the league’s first Canadian franchise.


July 14 - Arsenal’s all-time leading goal scorer Thierry Henry agrees to multi-year contract with the New York Red Bulls. He would play with the MLS team for five seasons.


May 21 - New York City FC, a partnership between Barclays Premier League club Manchester City and the New York Yankees, becomes the league’s 20th team, paying an expansion fee of $100 million, and will begin play in 2015.


Feb. 5 - Garber announces David Beckham will acquire an expansion franchise in Miami if Beckham can secure a new stadium.

Oct. 27 - Chivas USA franchise folds after 10 seasons.

Oct. 30 - Los Angeles FC becomes the new LA franchise with plans to begin play in 2017.


The league averages 22,113 fans, a record, with Atlanta United attracting an average of 48,200 to supplant Seattle Sounders as attendance leaders for the first time in eight seasons.


Jan. 29 - After years of seeking a stadium site, Beckham is approved by the MLS for an expansion franchise in Miami with play beginning to 2020.

March 23 - Sweden’s all-time goal scorer, striker Zlatan Ibrahimović signs with LA Galaxy. He would depart in December 2019, telling fans to “go back to watching baseball.”

June 28 - English star Wayne Rooney agrees a $13 million, 2 1/2 year deal with D.C. United. He would leave in August 2019 to become a player coach with Derby County in England.


Jan. 15 - MLS awards latest franchise to Austin with plans for first season in 2021.

Aug. 20 - Owners pay a reported $200 million expansion fee as St. Louis is granted an MLS franchise to begin play in 2022.

Oct 21 - MLS awards a franchise to Sacramento to become the league’s 29th team after paying $200 million expansion fee with first matches in 2022.

Dec. 17 - NFL Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and partners, pay reported $325 million franchise fee, land MLS’s 30th franchise that will start play in 2021.

Compiled by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Daniel Wallis