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Mapping MLS for deficiency in international signings

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First, there is a wicked cool website out there that has a map of MLS, USL-1 and USL-2 on it. It does a great job of showing where the teams are, and where they aren't.

Secondly, there is this handy map from MLSnet.com concerning where the players are from, it does not include three of Sounders FC's earliest signings, but that ISN'T the problem with the map.

Here's a link to that as a PDF if you want to be able to zoom a bit more.

Study that map in light of this story from Goal.com.

Of the footballers who emigrated abroad, 222 ended up in Asian clubs, 762 in Europe, 105 in other South American countries, 69 in North and Central America and 15 in Africa.

If 69 came to CONCACAF, but only 10 play in MLS how in the world can MLS claim that there isn't enough talent to expand? Doubling MLS' draw for Brazilian low-level talents would nearly field a side.

Let's look a little further

, at English language nations not part of the British Isles, excluding Canada and the USA. Only 39 players signed by MLS. Even a 10% increase outside of the Caribbean and 20% in the Caribbean would add a starting 11.

Now, look at Asia. We already know that the AFC draws a ton of interest from Brazilian players from the above link, what has yet to be pointed out is that right now MLS isn't of the same quality as the J-League, and maybe a few others. Currently though MLS only has 2 players from AFC nations, Sharpe and Kimura of the Rapids. But this is a Confederation that has immense talent in it, that has had strong appearances in the World Cup, and has several talents that are deserving of EPL contracts.

MLS also only has two talents from the Arab world at this time - one from Morocco, and one from Mali. There are 400 Million Arabs, or there abouts, I'm certain that at least 5 or worth bringing to our nation's league. I've even found one who is almost certain to be a World Star shortly. With clubs from Tunisia and Egypt winning the CAF club championships I think that it is clear that this is another region that is being ignored.

Certainly MLS isn't the world's greatest league, but guess what? It is currently ignoring talent that could easily add a handful of teams all of better quality. Yes it would take money, but with 6 ownership groups offering 40 Million dollars US, another offering 30 Million, and Fred Wilpon willing to buy-in as soon as CitiField is sorted out, there is the money there to expand the league and each team's depth. By 2011 there will be 3 to 5 more soccer specific stadiums built with the current teams, not to mention 1 or more from the upcoming expansion teams. When Forbes evaluated the league's teams for profitability it called out that the SSS is one of the keys to getting them in the black. Well at the end of the Philly expansion only 4 teams won't be in SSS, and Seattle will be profitable anyway.

The league has an opportunity to build right now, an opportunity to expand the Senior rosters, to add to its national scope in the USA and Canada, and the opportunity to compete in the region's international competitions.

This article pointed out a handful of nations that could add between 25-50 players to the league, with the understanding that it take more money for player signings, and with the expectation that the league be used as a stepping stone for U-23s to move on to Europe. I am not talking about expensive and/or soon-to-be-retiring talents in this case, but instead the youth of the world's game.

There is another source of talent, again costing money, that would add another 50-100 players to the pool. It isn't easy, it has risk, and its not my money, but I know what I want MLS to be in the next five years.