MLS ranks as the most diverse major pro league in North America

2016 Player Diversity map

Major League Soccer has once again clocked in as the most diverse major North American sports league.

MLS announced on Tuesday that it has the most diverse group of players among the top five major sports leagues in the US and Canada as determined by birthplace. As of last Friday, a total of 59 countries were represented by the league’s pool of 536 players, with 246 players born outside of the US and Canada.

A world map of players broken out by birthplace can be found below, while a map of players born in the US and Canada can be found here. The full lists of MLS players born abroad and in the US and Canada can be found here and here, respectively.

MLS ranks as the most diverse major pro league in North America -

That diversity will be on full display over the next week, as 74 MLS players have been called to represent their respective countries in international play. Twenty-eight players will represent various US national teams, seven will suit up for Canada and 39 more will represent 15 other countries in four of the world’s six confederations.

The players will be competing at the senior level in 2018 World Cup qualifying, 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, Caribbean Cup play and friendly action, and at the youth levels in Olympic qualifying, Dallas Cup action and exhibition matches. Click here for a full list of all the MLS players called-up to their national teams during the March international window.

A full table of how MLS compares to the other four major North American sports leagues based on birthplace of players, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau, can be found below.

League (year)
Total # of players
Players born abroad (% born outside US & Canada)
Countries represented (incl. US & Canada)
MLS (2016)
246 (45.8%)
NBA (2015-16)
90 (20.3%)
NHL (2015-16)
206 (27.5%)
MLB (2015)
291 (26.9%)
NFL (2015)
63 (3.0%)