Every year the MLS keeps getting better and the fanbase grows. The standard of soccer is increasing, and that has been helped by an influx of international stars over the past ten years. These are the best foreign players to spend time in the MLS.
Bradley Wright-Phillips – 171 apps, 106 goals
Not many English fans batted an eyelid when Bradley Wright-Phillips moved from his home nation to the American league. England’s loss was the MLS’ gain, as Wright-Phillips became a goalscoring sensation. Last season he managed to break 100 goals in the league, cementing his place as one of the greatest MLS players ever. Wright-Phillips has been with the New York Red Bulls since 2013, helping them win the Supporters’ Shield three times in six seasons.
David Beckham – 98 apps, 18 goals
David Beckham shocked the world when he announced his move to LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007. He was still one of the biggest names in the sport and switched when he was still at his peak. Beckham became an instant hit in the MLS, scoring 18 goals in 98 appearances.
While he might not have played as much as some would have liked, Beckham helped raise the profile of the league. If Beckham hadn’t moved to LA in 2007, then the popularity of the league might be nowhere near where it is now. Beckham will be returning to the MLS soon with his very own franchise, Inter Miami.
Sebastian Giovinco – 114 apps, 68 goals
Most of the time, if an international soccer player heads to the MLS their careers are winding down, but Giovinco bucked that trend. The Italian star moved to Toronto FC after finding it hard to break into the Juventus team in 2015. It turned out to be an inspired move as Giovinco has become one of, if not the, best player in MLS.
He has scored 68 goals so far and was named the league’s MVP in his first season. Since moving to Toronto, Giovinco has been the club’s top scorer in every season and last year helped them to the CONCACAF Champions League semi-final.
Robbie Keane – 125 apps, 83 goals
Irish striker Robbie Keane is an English Premier League legend who has scored over 100 goals in one of the toughest divisions in world soccer. In 2011 he made the switch to the MLS, and LA Galaxy fans had a new hero to replace David Beckham. In five seasons Keane had 83 goals to his name in just 125 appearances, making him one of the deadliest players in league history.
Keane helped the Galaxy lift the MLS Cup three times, making him a legend to soccer fans throughout Los Angeles. Wherever Keane played, he scored goals and the striker is Ireland’s record goalscorer with 68 international strikes.
These players were not all stars in the European leagues they came from, but when they played in the MLS, they stood out. Foreign players have helped to improve the standard in the MLS, and none more so than these iconic stars.