In 1979, North American Soccer League players attempted to execute a work stoppage during the first month of the season. But they lacked cohesion, and while domestic players sat out, teams such as the New England Tea Men went ahead and competed using foreigners and local semi-professionals. The labor dispute has been cited as a factor in weakening the NASL, which folded after the 1984 season.
Major League Soccer has taken lessons from its predecessor. From the start, management established tight control over finances, and players have formed a unified front in collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
But as MLS prepares for its 25th season, a players’ strike looms as a possibility.