MLS Players by birthplace - March 2019 - World

MLS Grows Younger, More Diverse with Youngest Class of Newcomers

Record 73 Countries Represented on MLS Clubs
Highest Number of American and Canadian Players in MLS History

NEW YORK, NY (March 7, 2019) – Major League Soccer is once again leading the charge in diversity (as determined by birthplace) in the North American sports landscape. From its current pool of 655 players, an MLS-record 73 countries are represented, the most of any professional soccer league in the world and more than any sports league in North America.

In 2019, MLS features a record number of players from the United States (290), Canada (39), Argentina (30), France (24), Brazil (20) and Colombia (19).

Among those 655 players, 245 have been capped by their national teams (37.25 percent), while over 60 percent, 40 of 62 current Designated Players (average age of 27.12 years), have been capped. Among these internationally capped players, 48 standouts in MLS have been included on a FIFA World Cup roster.

During the offseason, MLS clubs signed its youngest group of newcomers in league history. The 84 newcomers to the league (counting players with previous professional experience signed from international leagues and non-MLS affiliated USL clubs) maintain an average age of 24.98 years old, while over 40 percent of the players have experience playing for their respective national team. Of note this offseason, MLS clubs signed 29 South American players averaging 24.41 years of age.

The current class of Designated Players in MLS also ranks youngest in league history, with the 62 Designated Players averaging 27.1 years of age. This offseason, MLS clubs signed 11 new Designated Players averaging 25.72 years of age.

MLS clubs continue investing heavily in their academies and have signed 31 new players to Homegrown Player contracts this offseason. Overall, there are currently 134 players signed to Homegrown contracts, with those players averaging 21.20 years of age. Among the Homegrown Players, 22 have played internationally for their respective national team (16.42 percent).

Clubs continue massive increased investment in rosters through Targeted Allocation Money, adding 25 TAM players this offseason averaging 25.24 years of age. There are currently 126 TAM players (making above the maximum salary but not Designated Players) averaging 27.20 years of age. Internationally, over 60 percent (79 out of 126) of these TAM players have played for their respective national teams.

MLS Player Maps and Lists

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 (2019) 655 329 (49.77%) 73 25.33
MLB (2018) 1379 381 (27.6%) 28 28.7
NHL (2017-2018) 985 270 (27.4%) 23 27.19
NBA (2017-2018) 540 103 (19.0%) 49 26.85
NFL (2018) 2020 52 (2.6%) 25 26.73
  • All Statistics Courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau
  • Leagues in season include all players on current rosters.
  • Leagues out of season include players on rosters when the season ended.
  • Totals as of March 5, 2019

Countries Represented by Birthplace:

  • MLS - 73 players
  • English Premier League - 67 players
  • Ligue 1 - 59 players
  • La Liga - 57 players
  • Bundesliga - 56 players
  • Serie A - 54 players
  • Liga MX - 19 players

Percentage of Player Pool as Domestic:

  • Liga MX - 61.2%
  • Ligue 1 - 53.2%
  • La Liga - 50.9%
  • MLS - 50.2%
  • Bundesliga - 47.3%
  • Serie A - 42.7%
  • English Premier League - 32.9%

Average Age of MLS Newcomers at End of Regular Season:

  • 2019 – 24.98 (Age of newcomers at beginning of regular season)
  • 2018 – 25.58
  • 2017 – 26.06
  • 2016 – 25.70
  • 2015 – 27.02
  • 2014 – 27.53

Average Age of Designated Players at End of Regular Season:

  • 2019 – 27.12 (Age of Designated Players at beginning of regular season)
  • 2018 – 28.41
  • 2017 – 28.29
  • 2016 – 29.38
  • 2015 – 29.21
  • 2014 – 29.34

MLS Players by Country (outside U.S.A / Canada):

  • Argentina - 30 players
  • France - 24 players
  • Brazil - 20 players
  • Colombia - 19 players
  • Ghana - 15 players

MLS Players by State / Province:

  • California - 59 players
  • New York - 24 players
  • Ontario (Canada) - 23 players
  • Texas - 20 players
  • New Jersey - 17 players
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