8 reasons why I love the MLS

Major League Soccer badges

1. Live games are broadcast at a great time

Okay, this is a bit of a personal one, but having a young son, I don't often get to watch what I want to on the TV - football usually comes second fiddle to Fireman Sam, Thomas The Tank Engine and Paw Patrol. So with the U.S. being 5-8 hours behind, their matches usually kick-off somewhere after 8pm UK time - perfect for me when the little man has gone to bed! There's usually 2-3 games broadcast on a Sunday night too, so your football fix can last til the early hours of Monday morning.

2. It's on over the British summer

The summer months are a difficult time for football fans. Sure, there's the World Cup or the Euro Championships every other year, but they're relatively short and don't quite make up for that regular football fix which we all crave.

Luckily our friends from across the pond have organised their season to run from March to November, so your football cravings can be fulfilled with a weekly dose of live action from the MLS.

3. The game day experience

In 2015, I was lucky enough to get to an Orlando City game. We drove to the ground, getting there around an hour and a half before kick off and tasted our first American "game day " experience. It's very, very different to going to a match in the UK: car parks are turned into "tailgate BBQs" with families coming together and cooking meals, kids playing 5-a-side football and rivals fans mixing over a can of beer.

There was an outside stage with a live band, vans where kids could play the latest FIFA game and lots of giveaways - we got an Orlando City scarf courtesy of Continental tyres and a free towel as well. I've had a season ticket at Bramall Lane since I was 8 and been to 80+ grounds in the UK and I've never had anything for free... before my first game in America kicked off, I already had a scarf and a towel!

The build up for the match was a good experience as well, the teams coming out to a rapturous reception, a live vocalist passionately singing the American national anthem and fireworks on the pitch. After the goals, cannons fired ticker tape into the air. Very flashy, very different to England, but very cool too!

4. Drinking in the stands

Okay, it'd probably a bad idea in the UK because some of our fans can't be trusted, but in America they have guys walking up and down the aisles selling ice cold beers. You didn't need to leave your seat and you were trusted to sit there and get wasted whilst the match was on.

5. The supportive atmosphere

Maybe it's just the games that I go to, but in England the atmosphere seems overly negative. Fans expect their team to play like Real Madrid and win 8-0 every week, when it doesn't happen, they moan. In my experience, the MLS isn't like this - the fans are incredibly supportive, seemingly happy just to be watching a game of "soccer". I heard very few negative comments about the fans' own team which was incredibly refreshing!

6. Away fans are proper away fans

In England, Plymouth to Carlisle is a long way. In America, it's a local derby. The USA is a massive country and if you're travelling to an away match, you're more likely to be flying than driving - is really is that far.

7. Almost anyone can win it

The major leagues in Europe are boring. Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal or Man City will win the Premier League. Real Madrid or Barcelona will win La Liga and Bayern Munich will win the Bundesliga. Boring.

With the MLS, almost anyone can win the league and every team will go out and attack their opponents - they won't sit back in the home of hanging on to a 0-0 draw against one of the "big" boys.

What this creates is a very interesting league what any team can beat any other home or away. Sure some teams are stronger than others, but try predicting the top 4 in the Premier League and try predicting the 4 MLS Conference finalists - that is a much harder task!

8. Timber Joey

The Portland Timbers take their name seriously. Behind the goal, they have a large wooden log which their mascot, Timber Joey cuts with a chainsaw each time the home team scores a goal. This cutting is then presented to the goal scorer after the game. If the opposition keeps a clean sheet, a cutting is made and presented to their goalkeeper.

Can you imagine a guy with a chainsaw at Millwall?

Only in America folks.

You can catch the new season of the MLS every week on Sky Sports. If like me you like a little bet, you can get the best football betting odds at William Hill.