PRESS RELEASE: NEW YORK (Thursday, March 17, 2022) – With players from a record 82 countries across six continents represented on 2022 rosters, Major League Soccer features the youngest and most diverse player pool of any North American men’s professional league.
The 82 countries represented, as determined by birthplace, is a 37 percent increase from the 60 countries in 2010 and makes MLS the most globally diverse player pool among North American men’s professional sports leagues.
The number of countries represented in 2022 is nearly double that of the next closest men’s league in North America (NBA, 45 countries represented), and is also significantly higher than top men’s soccer leagues around the world, including Italy’s Serie A (62 countries represented), France’s Ligue 1 (60), the English Premier League (59), Spain’s La Liga (54) and Germany’s Bundesliga (52).
While reflecting the rich global diversity here in North America, Major League Soccer continues to offer more opportunities for domestic talent every year. The 2022 season will see nearly 400 domestic players competing on MLS rosters, 350 from the United States and 46 from Canada, a figure that has increased by nearly 20 percent over the past five years.
MLS today also released data about the average age of MLS players on rosters. As of March 10, the average age of players on MLS rosters was 25 years, 194 days old, nearly a full year younger than the next closest league (NBA, 26 years, 137 days).
From this diverse and youthful player group, a record number of MLS players are expected to appear in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, highlighting the strengthening pool of international talent starring in Major League Soccer.
Additional notes on the MLS player pool can be found below:
- With 40 Argentine players, Argentina has contributed the most players born outside of the U.S. and Canada. Brazil (34) and Colombia (25) round out the top five.
- Led by 64 players born in the state of California, 43 of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia are represented on MLS rosters. Following California, four additional states boast more than 20 players currently on MLS rosters: New York (26 players), Texas (22), New Jersey (21) and Illinois (20). Five Canadian provinces feature on MLS rosters – Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec – with Ontario having the largest representation with 26 players.
- Based on players who have appeared in games this season, MLS (26 years, 150 days) has the third-youngest player pool among top men’s soccer leagues, behind only Ligue 1 (25 years, 227 days) and the Bundesliga (26 years, 29 days).