Saturday, January 27, 2007

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

1 Mexico 32
2 Brazil 24
3 Argentina 23
4 Jamaica 21
5 Trinidad 20
6 Canada 18
7 Colombia 17
8 Costa Rica 15
9 England 14
10 Bolivia 10

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.

Top Confederations

3 UEFA 92
4 CAF 54
5 OFC 5
6 AFC 4

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)

18-Cote d'Ivoire

Comments on "Foreign Talent in MLS: Countries & Confederations"


Blogger scaryice said ... (11:25 PM, January 27, 2007) : 

Last one is also from Iran:

Arash Noamouz. Played for LA in 1996.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:34 PM, January 28, 2007) : 

I'd love to see the actual lists of the players, too. Is that on the latest database?

I imagine the number of Mexicans would go down if you don't count the kids raised here. It is funny that people complain that we haven't gotten enough players from Brazil and Argentina in the league, yet they are numbers two and three in this list...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:20 AM, February 02, 2007) : 

Usually best not to offer a trivia question and answer it in the next section :D


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