Sounders Insider

MLS calendar begins long run to Nov. 21

As mentioned in the post below, Sounders training camp begins Monday, in the sense of the players hitting the pitch for their first practice.

However, today marks the official start of preseason training for the 16 MLS clubs.

Some other key news and dates, as provided by MLS:

*The 15th regular season in MLS history kicks off March 25 when expansion club Philadelphia Union play their inaugural MLS match against Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field (ESPN2 and ESPNDeportes at 9:30 p.m. ET).

*MLS plans to announce its complete 2010 regular season, with national television broadcasts, in the first week of February.

*Among the highlights of the MLS preseason is the inaugural Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic tournament on Feb. 25 and 27, during the re-launch of ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando, Fla. Four clubs will participate in the tournament: Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, and FC Dallas.

*Another preseason tournament is the annual Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., where D.C. United, defending MLS Cup Champion Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC will compete along with the host Charleston Battery of the USSF Second Division. Doubleheaders on March 13, 17 and 20 will determine the winner in a round-robin format.

* Every team will play each of the other 15 teams twice in an evenly-balanced, 30-game regular season * There wlll be a two-week break in play during group phase of the FIFA World Cup. * The grand opening of Red Bull Arena on March 27: New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire

* The grand opening of Union Field in Chester, Pa. this summer Yesterday – April 15: Primary Registration Window (Players under contract in other countries may be signed by MLS clubs)

Today: Teams permitted to begin preseason training

Feb. 25 & 27: Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic near Orlando, Fla. (FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC)

March 1: Roster and Salary Budget Compliance Deadline (20 Senior, 4 Developmental Players)

March 9: CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal: Columbus Crew vs. Toluca (MEX) (5 p.m. PT, FSC)

March 13-20: Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. (D.C. United, Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC & Charleston Battery)

March 17: CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal: Columbus Crew vs. Toluca (MEX) (5 p.m. PT, FSC)

March 25: First Kick 2010 – Philadelphia at Seattle (6:30 p.m. PT, ESPN2/Deportes)

March 27-28: 2010 MLS Opening Weekend.

March 27: Grand Opening of Red Bull Arena as the New York Red Bulls host the Chicago Fire (4 p.m. PT, ESPN2/Deportes)

May 16: FIFA mandated final match day at club level for players pre-selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup

June 11: The 2010 FIFA World Cup begins & MLS takes a two-week break in league play

June 12: U.S. national team begins group play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup against England (11:30 a.m. PT)

June 18: USA vs. Slovenia, 2010 FIFA World Cup (7 a.m. PT)

June 23: USA vs. Algeria, 20101 FIFA World Cup (7 a.m. PT)

June 26: MLS play resumes

July 11: FIFA World Cup Final - Johannesburg, South Africa

TBD (Late July/Early August): 2010 MLS All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas

TBD (Late July thru August): SuperLiga 2010 (MLS clubs: Chicago, Chivas USA, Houston, New England)

July 27: CONCACAF Champions League - Preliminary Round (LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC)

Aug 5: CONCACAF Champions League – Group Stage (Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake)

Oct. 24: MLS regular season ends

Oct. 28-30: MLS Cup Playoffs begin

Nov. 21: 2010 MLS Cup (neutral site TBD)

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