The 22nd All-Star Game of Major League Soccer will be held on August 2, 2017, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The annual All-Star Game features select players from the MLS competing against an international club. The MLS All-Star Game originally used the traditional North American sports leagues’ all-star game, with players from the Eastern Conference facing off against those of the Western Conference. This set-up was eventually dropped in favor of the current format in which All-Star players are chosen through fan voting with final selections made by the league commissioner and an appointed coach.
The first MLS All-Star game was played in 1996 at Giants Stadium (now known as MetLife Stadium), following the traditional Eastern Conference-Western Conference format. The 1998 version of the game pitted a team of American MLS players against a team of players from other countries. For the first time, the All-Star Game in 2002 featured a league selection team that played against a national team. After that, the MLS selection played against a professional club until 2005, when the rules were changed so that a specially-selected MLS team faced off against European teams, mostly from the Premier League of England. The 2016 MLS All-Star Game featured an MLS selection team that played against the Arsenal Football Club based in Highbury, London. This year’s MLS All-Star Game will feature an MLS team playing against the Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, a professional sports team from Madrid, Spain.
Last year’s MLS All-Star Game was played on July 28, 2016, at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California. Chuba Akpom of the Arsenal was chosen as the All-Star Most Valuable Player. More than 18,000 soccer fans attended the game.
The MLS All-Stars included the following players: Andre Blake, Laurent Ciman, Keegan Rosenberry, Jelle Van Damme, Kaká, Giovani dos Santos, David Villa, and Didier Drogba.
The Arsenal players included Petr Čech, Mathieu Debuchy, Rob Holding, Krystian Bielik, Kieran Gibbs, Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, Alex Osiade-Chamberlain, Joel Campbell, and Theo Walcott.
This year’s team has been up for vote through the end of June. Coach Veljiko Paunovic (Chicago Fire), will pick the gameday roster from the final pool of players. The pool consists of two selections made by MLS Commissioner Don Garber as well as other players chosen by the media and fans.