MLS becoming more enticing destination for players, says Scottish pundit

Danny Wilson - in action for Rangers FC

We've been hearing about this being the era of young South Americans coming to transform MLS, but could it also be the case for Scottish players in their prime?

It should be, according to Scottish pundit and former pro Michael Stewart, who played for his country as well as Manchester United, Hearts and Hibernian, among other teams, in his career.

In an editorial in the Scottish Sun on Sunday, Stewart points to the recent signings of compatriots Danny Wilson (Colorado Rapids, pictured above) and Johnny Russell (Sporting Kansas City) and says it could — and should — be the start of a new trend of Scottish players in the league.

"MLS clubs are in a position to compete for players like never before," Stewart wrote. "It didn’t used to be like that. Way back in the beginning it was like a retirement home for legends. ... But now? Guys are heading there in their prime. It’s become a hot destination for emerging South American talent. So on the face of it the likes of Wilson and Russell could not be going at a better time."

Of course, Scottish players are not a new phenomenon in MLS, as Stewart explains. There have been roughly 20 players in league history to have played who are from Scotland, including stars Kenny Miller, who played for Vancouver Whitecaps FC from 2012-14 and Kris Boyd, who played for the Portland Timbers in 2012.

But Stewart argues that in addition to the cultural and linguistic similarity between the British Isles and North America, the MLS league structure could also prove to be an enticement for players tired of leagues where one or two teams dominate the competition.

"Beckham’s Miami [expansion team] will want to make a big splash and raise the profile of the league further," Stewart wrote. "But one of the great things about MLS is they’ll never have a team that dominates for years and years. Sure, they’ll bring in big names, but there’s a financial fairness in American sport there that we don’t have. The salary cap they have in place means there is no huge gulf between any of the sides involved."

You can read Stewart's full thoughts on the subject over at the Scottish Sun.