MLS is becoming one of the most respected soccer leagues in the world thanks to an influx of foreign talent. It’s no secret that many Americans prefer other sports, but soccer is getting bigger. Some of the best foreign soccer players in the history of the sport have ended up in the MLS, and these are our top stars.
David Beckham came to the LA Galaxy when he was still in his prime and helped raise the profile of soccer in the US. Most players choose Europe as the place to play soccer at the most competitive level, but Beckham knew there were good players in the US. He chose to spend five years with the Galaxy and was the pioneer for modern soccer stars making their way to American soil.
For many, there hasn’t been a more beautiful player to watch than Andrea Pirlo. The Italian midfielder has won the World Cup, Champions League, and Serie A and decided to end his playing adventure in New York. He played for New York City 60 times over two seasons, reminding everyone that he still had it, even if he was well into his 30s at that point.
Wayne Rooney was still playing in the Premier League when he decided to give up playing for Everton to trade to the USA. He made the switch to the MLS with DC United and became one of the standout players in the league, helping his new team to the playoffs. Rooney scored over 200 goals in the Premier League and including his international goals he has over 300 in his career.
Brazilian midfielder Kaka is the only player ever to grace the MLS to have won the Ballon d’Or, otherwise known as the best player in the world. He came to the MLS after leaving Real Madrid and AC Milan to play for Orlando City in 2014 for three seasons. Kaka is arguably the best ever foreign player in the MLS because he is the only one who was recognized at one time as the best in the world.
It says a lot for the MLS’ popularity that it can attract former World Cup winners, and European legends. If it continues growing, foreign players could begin to shun playing in Europe in favor of living the American dream.