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MLS closing in on NFL, NBA, MLB in U.S. - Landon Donovan

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Former United States international Landon Donovan has said he believes Major League Soccer will soon challenge the country's more established sports in terms of popularity.

MLS sits behind NFL and NBA in terms of viewership in the U.S., but Donovan -- who won six MLS Cups with San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy -- pointed to issues within their rival sports when suggesting soccer will move up the rankings.

Fees for purchasing an MLS club have risen from around $40 million to $300m, and Donovan said these higher prices are evidence of more and more interest in the sport.

"Finally, Major League Soccer is very close to the others," Donovan told ESPN Deportes. "I believe that, now, baseball, in my country, is for the older generation.

"Young people don't watch much baseball. American football [NFL] also has issues with security and health. Basketball [NBA] is in a good phase, but MLS is really growing. In five, 10, 15 years, I believe we will be the third, second or first sport in the country.

"[That it costs] $300m means everything -- because, if companies or people with money are paying a lot, this tells you business is good and that the league is growing."