Major League Soccer introducing relegation to its structure would increase the competitiveness of the league and the United States national team, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann told German paper Rheinische Post.
MLS has been a closed shop ever since its introduction some 20 years ago, unlike the majority of domestic competitions around the world which are not franchise-based. The ownership model allows investors to buy into the league, which has a regular season and playoffs, but no relegation system.
The German-born Klinsmann, who began his career in his home country's Bundesliga, told the paper that adapting the common system of relegation could work wonders for the U.S. team, and also add an extra thrill for spectators.
The former Stuttgart striker cited the example of his old club successfully battling against relegation in the Bundesliga season just ended.
"I got up at half-past six in the morning to see their [final] match [of the season] in Paderborn," Klinsmann said. "That clubs like Stuttgart were down there, shows how close the Bundesliga is, how much quality it has.
"This thrill of the relegation battle is non-existent in the U.S. league. The risk for club investors to all of a sudden play in the second league would be too high. But the sporting side would benefit from it. Our players from Europe know that. That furthers our national team. Something is at stake week in, week out. Be it at the top or at the bottom, you always have to perform."