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Clubs load up on foreign imports
by Paul Kennedy, August 15th, 2011 8:12PM

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TAGS:  mls

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[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Major League Soccer clubs continue to rely heavily on foreign imports. They have imported 72 players -- players with no previous ties to clubs or colleges in North America before this season -- so far in 2011. That averages to four per team. Every team except Real Salt Lake has signed at least one import. Toronto FC leads all clubs with 11 imports.

Argentina and Colombia lead all countries with seven players joining MLS clubs. Twenty-eight imports have played for their respective national teams. Twelve have been signed as Designated Players. Eight have already left MLS.

By contrast, 54 players with previous ties to clubs or colleges in North America before this season have made their MLS debuts in 2011.

By country:
Europe (31)
6 France
4 England
4 Netherlands
3 Serbia
2 Croatia
2 Germany
2 Ireland
1 Belgium
1 Denmark
1 Finland
1 Macedonia
1 Norway
1 Spain
1 Sweden
1 Switzerland

South America (28)
7 Argentina
7 Colombia
6 Brazil
4 Uruguay
3 Ecuador
1 Chile

Concacaf (9)
3 Jamaica
3 Mexico
2 Trinidad & Tobago
1 Honduras

Africa (4)
1 Gambia
1 Ghana
1 Nigeria
1 Uganda

*signed since June 1.
(DP) signed as Designated Player
National team players in bold.

By club:
Chicago Fire (7)

Cristian Nazarit, COL
Diego Chaves, URU
Josip Mikulic, CRO
Marko Maric, CRO
*Pavel Pardo, MEX
*Sebastian Grazzini, ARG
Gaston Puerari, URU (sold to Atlas, MEX)

Chivas USA (6)
*Laurent Courtois, FRA
Marcos Mondaini, ARG
*David Junior Lopes, BRA
Sergio Arias, MEX
Victor Estupinan, ECU
Seth Owusu, GHA (loan expired)

Colorado Rapids (1)
Caleb Folan, IRE

Columbus Crew (3)
Dejan Rusmir, SER
Santiago Prim, ARG
Sebastian Miranda, CHL

FC Dallas (2)
*Daniel Cruz, COL
(DP) Fabian Castillo, COL

D.C. United (1)
Rodrigo Brasesco, URU (waived)

Houston (5)
*Carlo Costly, HON
Jermaine Taylor, JAM
Je-Vaughn Watson, JAM
*Luis Camargo, BRA
Sergio Koke, SPA (contract terminated)

Sporting KC (6)
Aurelien Collin, FRA
*Daneil Cyrus, TRI
(DP) *Jeferson, BRA
Julio Cesar, BRA
Milos Stojcev, SER
(DP) Omar Bravo, MEX

Los Angeles Galaxy (3)
(DP) *Robbie Keane, IRE
Miguel Lopez, ARG
Paolo Cardozo, URU

New England Revolution (6)
Franco Coria, ARG
(DP) *Milton Caraglio, ARG
Rajko Lekic, DEN
Ousmane Dabo, FRA (retired)
Didier Domi, FRA (waived)
Michael Augustine, NGR (waived)

New York Red Bulls (6)
(DP) *Frank Rost, GER
Jan Gunnar Solli, NOR
John Rooney, ENG
Luke Rodgers, ENG
Marcos Paullo, BRA
Teemu Tainio, FIN

Philadelphia Union (4)
Carlos Valdes, COL
Faryd Mondragon, COL
Keon Daniel, TRI
*Veljko Paunovic, MAC

Portland Timbers (3)
Brian Umony, UGA
(DP) Diego Chara, COL
Jorge Perlaza, COL

Seattle Sounders (2)
Erik Friberg, SWE
Mauro Rosales, ARG

San Jose Earthquakes (2)
Simon Dawkins, ENG
(DP) *Edmundo Zura, ECU

Toronto FC (11)
(DP) *Danny Koevermans, NED
Dicoy Williams, JAM
*Eddy Viator, FRA (Guadeloupe)
Elbekay Bouchiba, NED
Javier Martina, NED
Joao Plata, ECU
Mikael Yourassowsky, BEL
Nick Soolsma, NED
Richard Eckersley, ENG
(DP) *Torsten Frings, GER
Alen Stevanovic, SER (waived)

Vancouver Whitecaps (4)
Alain Rochat, SWI
Camilo, BRA
(DP) Eric Hassli, FRA
(DP) *Mustapha Jarju, GAM



11 comments
  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 9 a.m.
    nothing wrong with internatioal flavor to our USA teams....however, I still am a strong advocate of the MLS teams having academy programs within their own team org. to promote, develope players within the USA..I see it as the only way to gain NATIONAL teams that are compeitive with other countries on the international competition level. I really would like to hear comments about this concept. I know that chicago fire has a program, as did the KC wizards, but, they did not go far enough in that they did not offer host parents or a dormitory situation for players to stay, etc..only training an practice sessions free of cost an uniforms, travel to an from games best I know....a total pkg is what is required.MLS can make this possible if they work with the teams I am sure.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.
    Four foreign players per team does not sound excessive, but maybe I'm missing something (since it also seems too low). Is this four new foreign players (per team) this season? The article asserts that RSL has no imports, but surely their centerback (Olave) is an import. A range of foreign players (as long as they're skilled players) is good for the MLS, but we need to make sure domestic players get a chance to play. If a foreign player and an American are equal in talent, I would prefer to see the American play (to build a pool of American players), but the American is probably cheaper anyway. But certainly bringing in talented foreigners is a necessary part of any decent league. Perhaps there will be a time when the MLS is so loaded that it can afford to import the best talent from around the world (and Americans will find it hard to get the opportunity to break into the line-up), but I don't think we're close to that.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
    ERNEST,KENT: I see two major flaws in your arguments. First, Ernest, an academy program is very expensive and MLS teams do not have the means to properly do one justice. The MLS must first gain much more popularity than it currently has. I mean like NFL popularity. That would mean soccer must become a sport America falls in love with. A couple things holding that back: ESPN-they do nothing to help bring the game any popularity. They have dismal commentators, horrid analysts, and shotty coverage of the beautiful game. 2nd: THE US needs to host another world cup. Since 1994, the game of soccer has advanced light years from pre 1994. That is why not getting another world cup bid really hurt soccer int he US. Kent: The problem with this concept, of course, is the lack of real talent in the MLS. Talent goes where the money is. Players like Keane, Beckam, etc.. are players past their prime and therefore rather than sitting the bench in Europe are super stars here and get tons of playing time. As far as comparing US players to foreign players, that is a difficult comparison. The US player has no real style of play because he grew up playing without one. The foreign player, depending on his origin, has his own style of play. Comparing the foreign player to the US player now, and i'd take the foreien player over the US player most of the time. The bottom line is, the league needs to be more diversified as to help the US develope a style all their own. I believe this is what Klinsmann is tyring to do and i am happy that finally someone gets it.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
    Andrew, I disagree with you. Hispanics born here are taught the game from their parents who are mostly immigrants and therefore keep their styles of play that include creativity and techniques. The problem has been that USA soccer has been bias towards these players for a long time but can no longer deny their involvement to see the sport grow as much as possible for the MLS and national teams to be successful.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 1:35 p.m.
    Ernest , for that to happen clubs like the Fire need to be assured they themselves will profit directly from selling a player to another team. This is not possible in USA. A player can choose to leave Fire to go to Magic for example any Tim he wants without a transfer fee from club to club. MLS Ames profit from payers going pro directly. These are the complete opposite in everyvother country

  1. John Foust
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 2:12 p.m.
    And where is Mssr Henry with NYRB? The arguments against the foreign players misses at least one important plus: mentoring. The US has very few experienced and even past-their-prime players with extensive international experience who can pass that along. That's why I am excited about the staff Klinsmann is looking to work with, includin Ramos and Dooley, and his inclination to stay close to Reyna. These folks had some success - and a lot of exposure - to the international game and can bring that to bear on the upcoming young players. So can imports. Henry, Keane, Beckham, and Marquez bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and hopefully some mature mentoring to their teams. And there are actually a few Americans overseas who seem to be filling a similar role - not necessarily in the subtleties of play, but in how to conduct yourself as a professional (see Cherundolo and Bocanegra, and maybe Dempsey ...). So the mentoring factor can bringa lot to the situation, with the right individuals, i.e., don't bring over Joey Barton ...

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 3:14 p.m.
    Super, you are missing something. The numbers of home grown players going pro in Mls are very few. Other small countries produce more or close to the same amount of pro players than MLS. MLS wants to be different than all other fifa leagues but when it comes to bringing in talent from other countries it has the same policy as any other country.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 3:18 p.m.
    Can anyone give me a count for how many academy players go pro and that are starting and also those who choose to go to other American countries like Mexico instead. Also, the number that make it pro but have never been in an Academy or only played academy for 1-2 years.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 8:20 p.m.
    SUPER: I don't think the MLS has real "academies". I went to an FC dallas practice last year and noticed they had players practicing in the same practice as the 1st squad. There was no real "academy" to speak of. It was just an extended roster without having to count the guys on the roster. That needs to be fixed

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.
    The great things for a club to be an academy that is not in MLS is to get funding for their U15 and up program from Us soccer, I believe. What US soccer considers when evaluating wether a club is good enough to be considered an Academy are the team rankings, important tournament results, club rankings. I see np more pro players coming out of the Academies in Illinois than out of Hispanic teams that play in low budget Hispanic leagues. Academies in Illinois are no longer free or low cost as they once were. I don't understand why if they are receiving a large amount from Us soccer. What is the Academy,MLS or not, to produce pro talent?? I don't think there is none because I see no urgency from them to do so. What I have now seen are Academies flying kids in for their U18 programs. I would understand this a little more with MLS teams but I don't understand why a non MLS Academy would be permitted to do this by Us Soccer wich they are receiving money to "develop" players not fly them in at these older or younger ages.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 16, 2011 at 9:45 p.m.
    What is the incentive for Academies to product e pro players?? It is well known that the American parent wants to pay for their kid top dollar to be on a winning team or with a highly ranked club.


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