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Among Top U.S. Leagues, MLS Fields Most Diverse Group of Athletes

Among Top U.S. Leagues, MLS Fields Most Diverse Group of Athletes
Players born in 61 different countries on MLS rosters
NEW YORK(March 27, 2013) – By places of birth, Major League Soccer fields the most diverse group of athletes among the top five team sports leagues in the United States, with 61 different countries represented as of March 27. See the chart below for a related comparison of domestic leagues.
The number of MLS players born in the United States and Canada are at all-time highs and many players born abroad are eligible to represent the League’s two host nations in international competition.
To see a world map of MLS Players by Birthplace, and a list of those born abroad, CLICK HERE.
The primary transfer window, in which MLS clubs may acquire players under contract in other countries, is about halfway over (Feb. 12 – May 6). More dynamic talent is expected join an already impressive group of 2013 MLS newcomers that includes Claudio Bieler (KC), Robert Earnshaw (TOR), Raul Fernandez (DAL), Glaúber (CLB), Jose Kléberson (PHI), Obafemi Martins (SEA), Edgar Mejía (CHV), Andres Romero (MTL), Diego Valeri (POR) and more than 40 others with professional experience abroad.
The average age of MLS players born outside USA/Canada is 26.5-years-old, however this season’s newcomers average 25.4-years-old (as of March 25, 2013) furthering the trend of clubs adding young international talent on the rise.
League (year)
Total # of Players
Players Born Abroad
(% born outside U.S.A. & Canada)
Countries Represented
(incl. U.S.A. & Canada)
MLS (2013)
213 (40.1%)
NBA (2012-2013)
84 (19.2%)
NHL (2012-2013)
183 (24.3%)
MLB (2012)
272 (25.7%)
NFL (2012)
55 (2.7%)
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.