Frank Lampard insists foreign stars have responsibility to help grow MLS

Frank Lampard believes foreign players have an obligation to improve the level of football in Major League Soccer and help grow the young league in the United States' competitive sports marketplace.

Lampard, 37, moved to New York City FC in the middle of 2015 after a lone season with Manchester City, with whom he signed the previous year after a standout career with Chelsea.

Lampard joined fellow former European stars Andrea Pirlo and David Villa in the NYCFC squad. Despite the big names, the first-year franchise could not secure playoff qualification. But Lampard admits his success in the U.S. is not determined solely by wins and losses.

"As a player now you come to America to play but also you have a responsibility to improve the brand of football, which means taking the MLS to bigger levels," Lampard told The Drum on Wednesday.

Winning supporters for the team and league is part of the job, says the former England international, which entails off-the-field promotional appearances to help grow the team from the ground up.

"When you come here you to take that on your shoulders ... coming to a new club was really interesting for me because we're starting from fresh. Not only does the club have to try to win on the pitch but they have to win fans and build from the bottom.

"I think as a player coming from Europe, myself, David [Villa] and Andrea [Pirlo], we have a responsibility then to get out in the community and do these things [promotional events] and make people want to come and support us."

Lampard reckons more European stars will make the move to MLS, and hailed the league's rise in quality as a catalyst for growing fan support.

"I think you'll see more [foreign] players come here as the league improves. It's not just the foreign designated players coming here," Lampard said. "I think the overall standard of the league has improved and that's what's making the fanbase improve."

Despite only a half a year spent in the U.S., Lampard is keenly aware of the fierce competition the game faces domestically, with soccer falling behind a number of sports in terms of popularity. But he's seen positive signs so far.

"Soccer might not the highest in the line of sports because its fighting against very traditional sports here in the U.S. but it's the fastest growing sport and I can feel that when we travel and from our home fans walking down the streets," said Lampard.

"You can feel the difference in how the game is going. I think by playing well and embracing living here I think we can all help."