Opinion

Ricardo Pepi's transfer can be a positive for US soccer and MLS

Patrick Felts
Ricardo Pepi
Ricardo Pepi / ORLANDO SIERRA/GettyImages
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Ricardo Pepi very suddenly became a household name across the United States in 2021.

The 18-year-old Texan starred for the United State's Men's National Team this fall, scoring three goals in four World Cup qualifying appearances and quickly rising in ranks.

Now, with 90min reporting that Pepi has submitted a transfer request to FC Dallas, it's all but certain the young American will join a club in one of the major European leages.

While it's easy to see such a bright young star leaving the league old as a negative for MLS and the sport in America, it could actually have the opposite effect.

With clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United reportedly interested in the striker, it shows MLS is capable of producing top-notch talent. If the results from Pepi so far are any indication, he has a chance to become an American legend.

The young star could serve as a shining representation of just how talented and special MLS players can be to the rest of the world, generating interest in the American game abroad.

Simultaneously at home, he can create even more interest in whichever European league he heads to, in addition to the local game with MLS and the National Team growing alongside Pepi's stardom.

Plus, seeing Americans play and succeed in the top levels of Europe can only be good for the National Team. The more interest generated in the sport, the better.

While MLS certainly aspires to become more than a league that feeds players into Europe, it is not a bad place to start for a league that is still relatively young. The more that reputation grows, the league will become more and more attractive of a destination for high-end talent.

Pepi's chance to become a household name in Europe will generate significant buzz in America and abroad. While it is bittersweet to see him leave MLS, his name growing on a global scale could prove to be a good thing for the league American soccer as a whole.

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