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Foreigners in the Major League Soccer


For the third consecutive year, the number of Brazilians playing for Major League Soccer (MLS) teams exceeds 30 players, totaling 35 athletes. This marks a record number of Brazilians in this league, which continues to grow in terms of media coverage, marketing, professional quality (both athletes and staff), and level of competitiveness each passing year.


Currently, the MLS boasts a total of 498 foreign players spread across the 29 teams. It can be observed that this number has been increasing over the years, considering the improving quality of the championship, the investments being made, and the prominent figures opting for the United States as their career destination, such as the Argentine Lionel Messi, the Spaniards Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, and the Brazilian Douglas Costa, among others.


But why are Brazilians choosing to transition to this less spotlighted league instead of heading to Eastern Europe, which is traditionally deemed the path for pursuing the European dream? Aside from Brazilians receiving attractive offers in general from MLS teams, the allure lies in the high quality of life, opportunities for top-notch education for their children, security, and the fact that some players appreciate the idea of playing in the United States due to the ease of communication, eliminating the need to rely on a translator in their day-to-day lives. This is facilitated by the significant Brazilian presence in the US and the ability to communicate with Spanish speakers, given the linguistic proximity.


As an interesting side note, it's worth mentioning that North American soccer has previously witnessed the participation of the greatest player of all time, Pelé, who in 1975 decided to give the Americans a chance and donned the New York Cosmos jersey.


In conclusion, it can be affirmed that the number of Brazilians gravitating toward the MLS continues to increase every year, driven by the influence of young individuals aspiring to study and pursue a career as soccer players. These young athletes venture to the US through various programs and university scholarships, where they not only study and earn degrees but also become soccer players for their respective universities. This path subsequently places them on the radar of professional teams within the American championship, fulfilling their dreams of professionalization on American soil.

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