Foreign Talent in MLS: Countries & Confederations
|There have been a total of 1,006 players to have taken the field for MLS teams in competitive games. By my count, 399 (or 39.7%) have been foreign. I'm using a broad definition of foreign, the same as the Wikipedia article with a list of them:|
"...born outside the United States and have not been capped for the U.S. national team on any level, or have been born in the United States and were capped by a foreign national team."
So using that definition, players like Chris Gbandi and Antonio Martinez are counted as foreign. I should also note that the Wikipedia list doesn't include the 10 players who have played for MLS teams in the Open Cup or international tournaments but not in the league or playoffs. Three of those ten players are foreign. My data does include them.
A lot of this data is hard to interpret, considering the broad definition as I mentioned earlier, and also the Superdraft/colleges. So in order to really see what talent was brought in, you would have to eliminate anyone went to college or was raised here in the USA. That's something I'll have to figure out in the future when I have more time.
With those things said, let's take a look at some stats:
Top Ten Countries
The list is full of English speaking countries, and the Latin American powers...and also Bolivia. One thing that's very interesting is how important American colleges are to Jamaica and Trinidad, and the rest of the Caribbean. There needs to be a long feature article in Soccer America about that. Let's not forget the lesser African countries as well, who depend on college guys like Dipsy Selolwane.
AFC = Asia and CAF = Africa, if you didn't know. Thankfully there are no players from Australia to save me the hassle of figuring out how to handle that. If you want to test your MLS trivia, answer this: Which CONMEBOL country is the only one not without an MLS player? Also, can you name all four Asian players?
Top Ten Countries Without an MLS Player
(by FIFA rank)