2007 Player Debuts
|Updating last year's post, here's a look at the guys who made their MLS debut this year. There were 113 of them this year, the third highest total ever. That brings the total to 1,119 players who have played a competitive game for an MLS team.|
Debuts By Year
No surprise that the three expansion years rank 1-2-3 after the first season, and that post-contraction saw the lowest total of new players.
Non-Regular Season Players
Of the 1,119, a total of 22 have not played in an MLS regular season game. One of those played in the playoffs (McKinley Tennyson) but almost all the others played in the Open Cup. This list has expanded greatly this eason due to MLS teams sending out more reserves (and playing for it), and fully half of that 22 are from the past year only. For example, the Houston Dynamo sent out five players to play at Charleston who didn't get in another match.
Which of the new players were foreigners and which were rookies? I'm planning to go back and list both for each season so the foreign talent added can easily be compared. However, it's not that simple. There's also a third category: players who were on MLS rosters the previous year but didn't get playing time. They aren't officially considered rookies. And what about the case of players who come from the USL? Rather than worry about all that, I'm just going to break it down into two categories: Drafted & Outside.
This is the new MLS talent for 2007:
So all the 2006 players here aren't considered rookies for this past season. Only 27/52 Superdraft picks played this year, including 11/13 in the first round. Arguez and Igwe were the two that didn't. However, that's a lot better that the Supplemental draft: only 14/52 played.
Stephen Keel was signed in 2005 and waited almost two full years to make his debut for the Rapids; that has to be an MLS record. He did play on loan for Seattle, though.
Obviously, all these players aren't foreign, and a couple of them are even rookies. The rookies would include Flores and Sesay, and several of the others, especially the Canadians. Interesting note about Flores: it's the second time in MLS history that the same name has been used by two players. There was a Jorge Flores who played for Dallas from 1996-8. The other name is Chris Brown, the less famous version only played one game for Dallas in 1998 (although he was actually Chris Brown #1).
Regarding foreign talent, obviously it's better than ever before. The post contraction years meant only a handful of new talent arrived each year. But this year, I would say the top ten foreigners would beat out any other year except maybe the first. Just imagine if every one had lived up to their potential! 2000 was pretty good too (Stoitchkov, Molnar, Matthaus, Valencia, Diallo), the first year of Garber's reign.
Anyway, of these 63 "outsiders," 16 come from South America vs 8 from Europe. There's also 8 from Africa and 20 from CONCACAF, not including 11 Americans. Other than Canada, the biggest nationality was Argentina (7) followed by Brazil (6), after that 3 apiece by Colombia and England.