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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Major League Soccer growth on same course as Premier League - Vieira

New York City FC coach Patrick Vieira has said the growth of Major League Soccer reminds him of the Premier League when he was a player.

Vieira, who is set to begin his first year as an MLS boss, played for Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City during an illustrious career in Europe.

Now as manager of second-year MLS outfit NYCFC -- a sister club of Man City in the Premier League -- Vieira said he sees the league charting a promising course.

"I think the MLS is growing up really well," Vieira told Omnisport. "I think when you look at the MLS and where it was 10 years ago and where it is now it is growing so fast and it is growing in the right way.

"The MLS now reminds me of the Premier League when I was there a few years ago.

"Because even in France when we were talking about the Premier League, it was the third or fourth league because everyone was talking about the Italian league or the Spanish league or even the Dutch or the Portuguese league -- the English league wasn't at the top.

"But obviously in the last few years that has changed a lot and I think the MLS will go the same way."

Former Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira says he sees MLS charting a similar course to the Premier League.

Vieira also said he thinks coaching in MLS is harder than being a manager at a top club in Europe because of the league's salary cap, the lack of a relegation threat and limits on free agency.

"In Europe, if you want a player, you just go out and buy them. Here, you can't do it unless you have all these certain criteria. It is really interesting, really fascinating," Vieira said.

"Because this is all about coaching as well -- having the balance in your roster and spending your money the right way. I like it. I really do like it. Of course I still have a lot of the rules to learn to understand, but next to [NYCFC directors David Lee and Claudio Reyna], I'm getting it."

The NYCFC boss also addressed the dangers that the Chinese Super League presents to a growing MLS and called the CSL a "danger."

The CSL, founded in 2004, spent freely in the winter transfer windows, luring big-name players like Jackson Martinez, Alex Teixeira and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

"I think [the CSL is] a danger," he said. "I think when you see players going to China it is always a big loss for the MLS.

"But one of the problems I believe in the league is the salary cap because it does not allow you to bring the better players and they decide to go to China.

"But at the same time, I believe that players have a choice. Some go to China for different reasons and some go to MLS for different reasons, but I think China is a massive competitor for bringing players to the MLS."

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