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Record 73 Countries Represented Among Diverse MLS Player Pool

Record 73 Countries Represented Among Diverse Major League Soccer Player Pool
League ranks second in percentage of domestic players among top soccer leagues worldwide
 
NEW YORK (September 18, 2017) – Major League Soccer once again sets the trend in the North American landscape as the youngest and most diverse among the big five professional sports leagues. From its current pool of 641 players, a league-record 73 countries are represented (as determined by birthplace), while MLS players hold an average age of 26.18 years, more than a year younger than the next closest league.
 
Compared to other top international soccer leagues, MLS has the widest representation across the globe with the most countries represented, while also holding the second-highest total in percentage of players born within its competitive borders (48.36% of players born outside USA and Canada).
 
Out of those 641 players, 245 have been capped by their national teams (38.16%), while nearly 75%, 44 of 59, of current Designated Players (average age of 28.28 years) have represented their home countries. Designated Players across MLS continue to get younger every year, as the average age dropped by more than a year since 2016 (29.38 years), and by more than two years since 2012 (30.89 years).
 
Among these internationally capped players, 43 standouts in MLS have been included on a FIFA World Cup roster, with four players reaching the pinnacle of international soccer in capturing a FIFA World Cup title.
 
Outside of the U.S. and Canada, Argentina and England lead the pack with 23 MLS players born in their respective nations. France ranks next at 18 players, while Ghana leads all African nations with 17 players.
 
CONCACAF nations are well represented in MLS, with several countries sporting high percentages of players in the league who have also represented their respective nations. Twelve of 13 players born in Jamaica have represented the Reggae Boyz on the international stage, while 11 of 13 players have done the same for a Costa Rican squad that reached the quarterfinals stage of the 2014 World Cup.
 
With a look across the globe, Ghana has seen seven of its 17 MLS-based players play for its national team, while all four New Zealanders and an additional two foreign-born players have suited up for the Kiwis. In South America, five of the six Venezuelan players in MLS have played for the national team, while Switzerland leads all UEFA-competing teams with four MLS players to represent its national team.
 
 
MLS Player Maps and Lists
 
 
 
 

 

Big Five North American Professional Sports Leagues
League (year)
Total # of Players
Players Born Abroad (% born outside U.S.A. & Canada)
Countries Represented (incl. U.S.A. & Canada)
Average Age of All Players (in years)
MLS (2017)
641
310 (48.36%)
73
26.18
MLB (2016)
1089
313 (28.7%)
23
29.45
NHL (2016-2017)
788
223 (28.2%)
22
27.87
NBA (2016-2017)
450
98 (21.7%)
45
27.44
NFL (2016)
2078
60 (2.9%)
27
27.35
 
 
Top Soccer Leagues Worldwide
League (all 2017)
Total # of Players
Players Born Abroad (% born outside host nation)
Countries Represented (incl. U.S.A. & Canada)
Average Age of All Players (in years)
MLS
641
48.36%
73
26.18
English Premier League
522
67.40%
65
27
Serie A
560
53.40%
54
26.1
Bundesliga
518
52.50%
62
25.1
Ligue 1
530
50.20%
60
25.6
La Liga
479
43.00%
43
26.8
 
 
MLS Players by Birthplace (Country)
Countries
Total # of Players in MLS by Birthplace
USA
303
Canada
28
Argentina
23
England
23
France
18
Ghana
17
Brazil
14
Colombia
14
Costa Rica
13
Jamaica
13
Mexico
10
Germany
9
Honduras
9
Panama
9
 
 
MLS Players Born in U.S./Canada
Year
# of Players in MLS Born in U.S. or Canada
2017
331
2016
315
2015
321
2014
346
2013
347
2012
330
 
 
MLS Players by Birthplace (State/Province) - Top 12
State/Province
Total # of Players in MLS by Birthplace
California
63
Texas
26
New York
21
New Jersey
18
Ohio
17
Ontario (CAN)
16
Illinois
14
Georgia
12
Pennsylvania
12
North Carolina
11
Virginia
11
Missouri
10
 
 
MLS Players by National Team Experience
Countries
# of Players with National Team Experience by Country
USA
69
Canada
21
Jamaica
12
Costa Rica
11
Panama
9
Ghana
7
Honduras
6
New Zealand
6
Trinidad and Tobago
6
Argentina
5
Venezuela
5
Switzerland
4
 
 
Designated Player Average Age Year by Year
Year
Average Designated Player Age (in years at end of season)
2017
28.29
2016
29.38
2015
29.21
2014
29.34
2013
29.87
2012
30.89
2011
30.59
2010
30.94
2009
32.25
2008
33.5
2007
32.73
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