More Than 100 MLS Players Take International Stage for Summer of Soccer
June 6, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release
NEW YORK - More than 100 MLS players are set to participate in international competition this summer in the most prestigious continental tournaments across the globe. A total of 103 players representing 35 national teams will play in either international friendlies or tournaments including the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, CONMEBOL Copa América 2019, UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers, 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Among the MLS standouts, a record 59 players will play in the Gold Cup, 14 in Euro 2020 Qualifiers, 11 in Copa América, 11 in the U-20 World Cup, four in the Africa Cup of Nations, and another four in competition across Asia and Oceania.
Seattle Sounders FC lead all MLS clubs with 10 players participating in international competition, while the Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact and Toronto FC each have six players representing their national teams.
The league sees six different countries call in a record-breaking amount of MLS players for their respective tournaments including Canada, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
MLS: The World's Most Diverse Sports League: As the league of choice for many top players, MLS leads the charge as the most diverse sports league in North America and the world (as determined by birthplace). A league-record 75 countries are represented in 2019 from a pool of 675 current players. By comparison, the NBA is the second-most diverse North American sports league, boasting players from 49 countries.
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) 675 339 (50.2%) 75 26.01
MLB (2018) 1114 300 (26.9%) 24 28.58
NHL (2018-2019) 999 277 (27.7%) 23 26.93
NBA (2018-2019) 530 107 (20.2%) 49 26.62
NFL (2018) 2054 52 (2.5%) 25 27.16
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 June 6, 2019
2019 Concacaf Gold Cup
Record 59 MLS players from 12 countries called into Gold Cup: A record 59 MLS players from 12 different countries were called onto rosters for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, besting 2015 when 50 MLS players from 10 countries participated in the tournament. The country representation includes 16 MLS players from the United States and 12 from Canada. Additionally, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama each have five players. Rounding out the group are Trinidad and Tobago with three, El Salvador, Guyana and Haiti with two, and one each for Martinique and Mexico.
U.S. calls 16 MLS players, 7 academy products: The 16 MLS players on the U.S. roster equal the total from the 2017 Gold Cup title-winning squad. Additionally, a record seven players on the roster were developed in MLS academies, besting the five players who participated in 2017. Among the group of academy products are former New York Red Bulls Tyler Adams and Matt Miazga, and current Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris, who scored the game-winning goal to secure the title at the 2017 Gold Cup.
Canada calls record 12 MLS players, 8 MLS academy products: Canada has a record 12 MLS players on its Gold Cup roster, surpassing the previous high of 10 totaled in the 2015 tournament. In addition to the 12 MLS players, Canada's roster includes eight players developed in MLS academies such as current Toronto FC 18-year-old midfielder Noble Okello and former Vancouver Whitecaps FC and current Bayern Munich 18-year-old midfielder Alphonso Davies.
Panama, Honduras call record 5 MLS players in squad: Panama has named a record five MLS players onto its Gold Cup roster. Four of the five players including national hero Román Torres played for Panama at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with Montreal Impact midfielder Omar Browne making his first appearance in a major tournament for the national team.
Honduras, meanwhile has called in five MLS players into its Gold Cup roster, a record for the tournament. Among the calls is 23-year-old Houston Dynamo assist leader and 2019 MLS All-Star forward Alberth Elis. Also set to play in his first major tournament for Honduras is 21-year-old Danilo Acosta, a Real Salt Lake academy product and current defender for Orlando City SC.
MLS Players in Gold Cup
Year # of Players
CONMEBOL Copa América 2019
Record 11 MLS players set to participate in tournament: A total of 11 MLS players representing four countries will participate at Copa América 2019 from June 14-July 7 in Brazil. The 11 MLS players is a record for any Copa América tournament that did not include the United States as a participant. Venezuela leads all countries with four players, followed by Peru and Ecuador with three, and Uruguay with one MLS player.
Record number of MLS players called in for Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru: Reigning MLS MVP Josef Martínez is one of four MLS Venezuelans called into the tournament, a record for the nation. Meanwhile, Ecuador has called in a record three MLS standouts including 24-year-old FC Dallas World Cup veteran Carlos Gruezo and Seattle Sounders FC newly signed 24-year-old defender Xavier Arreaga. Peru also breaks a record with three MLS players in its roster including FIFA World Cup veterans Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC) and Andy Polo (Portland Timbers).
FIFA World Cup participants: Four of the 11 MLS players called into Copa América 2019 have previously participated in a FIFA World Cup. Those include Peru's Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC) and Andy Polo (Portland Timbers), Ecuador's Carlos Gruezo (FC Dallas), and Uruguay's Nicolás Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC).
UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers
11 countries call MLS players for Euro qualifiers: A total of 14 MLS players from 11 countries have been called into UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers taking place from June 7-11 across the continent. After playing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Gustav Svensson (Seattle Sounders FC) has Sweden in position to qualify for Euro 2020 during the early stages of qualifying. An additional three European countries have called multiple MLS players onto its roster (Finland, Hungary, Slovakia).
Africa Cup of Nations and Asia international competition
4 MLS players on Africa Cup of Nations preliminary rosters: Four MLS players were named to 2019 Africa Cup of Nations preliminary or final rosters, with the tournament set to run from June 21-July 19 in Egypt. Ghana sees two MLS standouts in FIFA World Cup veteran Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC) and Ebenezer Ofori (New York City FC) called into its preliminary roster. Also called into preliminary rosters for the tournament are Madagascar's Romain Métanire (Minnesota United FC) and Uganda's Micheal Azira (Montreal Impact).
Australia, Guam, Iraq, South Korea call MLS players: MLS sees four players called into international competition for teams playing in the Asian Football Confederation. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 22-year-old midfielder Hwang Inbeom will represent South Korea in friendlies this month, taking on Australia and Seattle Sounders FC defender Brad Smith in a friendly on June 7. Also competing in international competition will be Iraq's Justin Meram (Atlanta United) in an international friendly and A.J. DeLaGarza (Houston Dynamo) in Guam's 2022 FIFA World Cup AFC qualifiers.
2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup
18 MLS academy products, 10 current MLS players lead U.S. to quarterfinals: The United States has advanced to its second consecutive quarterfinals appearance at the U-20 World Cup, with the squad defeating France in the Round of 16 on Tuesday. The U.S. squad has relied heavily on MLS academy products, naming 18 such players onto its roster including 10 current MLS standouts. All seven goals scored by the U.S. at the tournament have been by MLS academy products, with Real Salt Lake product Sebastian Soto leading the team with four goals, while current New England Revolution forward Justin Rennicks scored the game-winning goal against France. The U.S. next faces Ecuador in the quarterfinals on Saturday (11:20 a.m. ET, FS2 / Universo).
Additionally, Atlanta United's Ezequiel Barco scored two goals for Argentina in the tournament.
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