MLS (Major League Soccer) has had many most famous players in its history, and the league has attracted top international talent, significant investments, and a massive social media presence. The MLS is concentrating its efforts on expanding its clubs into large sports markets and increasing their popularity among younger generations.
MLS is widely regarded as the world’s tenth best soccer league, both in terms of popularity and overall game quality. Each game has approximately 2 million TV viewers, whereas competitors such as the Premier League have up to 7 million viewers per game. According to a survey conducted for MoffettNathanson, the MLS saw the most significant increase in popularity among sports viewers, rising from the 13th most popular league in 2019 to the 7th most popular league in 2021. The players on this list are ranked exclusively based on their time in the MLS and their accomplishments in the league. Let’s get this party started!
Complete List Of MLS Cup finals | MLS Cup: Winners By Year From 1996 to 2021
|Season||Finals Date||Winners Of MLS||Score||Runners–ups||Total Attendance|
|1996||October 20||D.C. United||3–2||Los Angeles Galaxy||34,643|
|1997||October 26||D.C. United||2–1||Colorado Rapids||57,431|
|1998||October 25||Chicago Fire||2–0||D.C. United||51,350|
|1999||November 21||D.C. United||2–0||Los Angeles Galaxy||44,910|
|2000||October 15||Kansas City Wizards||1–0||Chicago Fire||39,159|
|2001||October 21||San Jose Earthquakes||2–1||Los Angeles Galaxy||21,626|
|2002||October 20||Los Angeles Galaxy||1–0||New England Revolution||61,316|
|2003||November 23||San Jose Earthquakes||4–2||Chicago Fire||27,000|
|2004||November 14||D.C. United||3–2||Kansas City Wizards||25,797|
|2005||November 13||Los Angeles Galaxy||1–0||New England Revolution||21,193|
|2006||November 12||Houston Dynamo||1–1||New England Revolution||22,427|
|2007||November 18||Houston Dynamo||2–1||New England Revolution||39,859|
|2008||November 23||Columbus Crew||3–1||New York Red Bulls||27,000|
|2009||November 22||Real Salt Lake||1–1||Los Angeles Galaxy||46,011|
|2010||November 21||Colorado Rapids||2–1||FC Dallas||21,700|
|2011||November 20||Los Angeles Galaxy||1–0||Houston Dynamo||30,281|
|2012||December 1||Los Angeles Galaxy||3–1||Houston Dynamo||30,510|
|2013||December 7||Sporting Kansas City||1–1||Real Salt Lake||21,650|
|2014||December 7||Los Angeles Galaxy||2–1||New England Revolution||27,000|
|2015||December 6||Portland Timbers||2–1||Columbus Crew SC||21,747|
|2016||December 10||Seattle Sounders FC||0–0||Toronto FC||36,045|
|2017||December 9||Toronto FC||2–0||Seattle Sounders FC||30,584|
|2018||December 8||Atlanta United FC||2–0||Portland Timbers||73,019|
|2019||November 10||Seattle Sounders FC||3–1||Toronto FC||69,274|
|2020||December 12||Columbus Crew SC||3–0||Seattle Sounders FC||1,500|
|2021||December 11||New York City FC||1–1||Portland Timbers||25,218|
Who has won the most MLS Cups/Titles?
Here’s a breakdown of how many MLS Cups/Titles each team has won. The Los Angeles Galaxy has the most MLS Cup titles, having won 5 in its 9 appearances.
|Total Wins/Most MLS Cups||Most recent win||Runners-up|
|New England Revolution||5||0||—||5|
|Houston Dynamo FC||4||2||2007||2|
|Seattle Sounders FC||4||2||2019||2|
|Columbus Crew SC||3||2||2020||1|
|Sporting Kansas City||3||2||2013||1|
|Chicago Fire FC||3||1||1998||2|
|San Jose Earthquakes||2||2||2003||0|
|Real Salt Lake||2||1||2009||1|
|Atlanta United FC||1||1||2018||0|
|New York City FC||1||1||2021||0|
|New York Red Bulls||1||0||—||1|
Here’s A List Of Top 5 Most Famous Soccer Players In MLS History | Top MLS Players Of All-time
1. David Beckham (LA Galaxy)
David Beckham is one of the most famous players in the MLS. He shocked the world by joining MLS from Real Madrid in 2007. For the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, he was loaned to AC Milan of Italy. Beckham is by far the most famous athlete to ever play soccer in the United States, big props to his modeling and marriage to a Spice Girl. There’s no doubt that his presence here helped us become a global brand.” Even though the league was able to keep its salary cap while ensuring David Beckham’s $32.5-million contract, it was woefully spontaneous for the other changes he brought.
International career: Beckham made his international debut for England on September 1, 1996, at the age of 21. He was captain for six years and earned 58 caps during that time. He played in three FIFA World Cups, in 1998, 2002, and 2006, as well as two UEFA European Championships, in 2000 and 2004. David Beckham scored three World Cup goals, one in each of 1998, 2002, and 2006 tournaments. Lancashire and Warwickshire played three different matches in England on each of the three days. This strange story of coincidences is chronicled by Arunabha Sengupta.
David Beckham had 265 Premier League appearances for Manchester United, scoring 61 goals. He also appeared in 81 Champions League games, scoring 15 goals. In 12 years, Beckham won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one European Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one FA Youth Cup.
MLS Career (LA Galaxy 2007-12):
Supporters’ Shield titles: 2x
MLS playoff berths: 4x (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
Regular season matches played: 98 of 176 Games
Regular season goals: 18 (5 game-winners)
Notable achievements In his career: Two-time Ballon d’Or runner-up, two-time FIFA Player of the Year runner-up, and inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Beckham, an MLS All-Star and Best XI selection in 2011, had his best season with the club last year, setting a new career-high with 15 assists in MLS play and more than 20 overall.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy)
The Swedish international left his imprint on the Los Angeles Galaxy and the entire Major League Soccer (MLS). Zlatan Ibrahimovic is like fine wine in that he improves with each passing year. Ibrahimovic, who is now competing for the top goal scorer in Italy with AC Milan, will be remembered for his bold cockiness during interviews and Jimmy Kimmel appearances. Zlatan Ibrahimovic decided to continue his career in Major League Soccer in the summer of 2018 and signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy for the remainder of the season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is widely regarded as one of the best signings in Major League Soccer history. In 27 league appearances since joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer of 2018, he has scored 22 goals and provided 10 assists.
International career: He has 62 goals in just 121 international appearances, making him Sweden’s all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing Sven Rydell’s record with two goals against Estonia at the Friends Arena during a friendly match in September 2014.
Club Career Goals: He has over 570 goals in his career, including over 500 club goals, and has scored in each of the last four decades.
MLS career (LA Galaxy 2018-2020): Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 53 goals in 58 games for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Notable achievements In His Career: He represented Sweden in the FIFA World Cups of 2002 and 2006, as well as the UEFA European Championships of 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. He has won the Swedish player of the year award, Guldbollen (the Golden Ball), a record 12 times, including 10 consecutive times from 2007 to 2016.
3. Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
Thierry Henry is the current French football coach, and he is widely regarded as the best player in Premier League history. Henry was an unstoppable force both in France and in the MLS. He joined the Major League Soccer (MLS) club New York Red Bulls in 2010 but returned to Arsenal on loan for two months in 2012 before retiring in 2014. Henry had long-term success with France, winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Euro 2000, and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003. Henry scored 51 goals in 122 appearances for the Red Bulls in the twilight of a stellar playing career that included stops at Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, and Barcelona. Thierry Henry set a major league record for one of the fastest top speeds ever recorded, clocking in at 39.2km/h in 1998. Ask ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher about the former Arsenal striker’s lightning-quick pace.
MLS Honors For Thierry Henry:
- 2010 – RBNY finishes first in Eastern Conference.
- 2011 – Team MVP, MLS All-Star, MLS Best XI.
- 2012 – Team MVP, MLS All-Star, MLS Best XI.
Thierry Henry’s 5 Best Moments in MLS | Most Famous Soccer Players In MLS
4. Wayne Rooney (D.C. United’s most famous soccer players in MLS)
He has four times been named England Player of the Year, in 2008, 2009, 2014, and 2015. Rooney is England’s second-most capped player (behind Peter Shilton) and all-time leading goalscorer with 53 goals in 120 international appearances. Of course, Rooney’s time in the MLS could have been extended, but he returned to his homeland and began his next chapter. Rooney’s nearly two-decade playing career started in 2002 when he made his Everton debut as a 16-year-old.
International career: England’s all-time leading goalscorer, & second most-capped player.
European career: He scored 253 goals for United in all competitions, making him the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, with 183 Premier League goals, second only to Sergio Aguero for any single club (184 goals for Manchester City). Wayne Rooney was one of Manchester United’s most decorated players, winning 13 major trophies during his tenure, including five league titles, four League Cups, and the FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League, and Club World Cup on one occasion.
MLS career (DC United 2018-2019): Scored 23 goals in 48 appearances and helped D.C. United
Notable achievements in his career: Only one of two Englishmen to have won the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, League Cup, Europa League, and FIFA Club World Cup. Manchester United defeated Manchester City 2-1 at Old Trafford thanks to Wayne Rooney’s spectacular overhead kick. The victory helped United beat City to the 2010-11 Premier League title, and Rooney’s acrobatic effort was later voted the best goal in Premier League history.
5. Kaka (Orlando City’s most famous soccer players in MLS)
During his playing career, Kaka was one of the world’s most famous athletes, and he was the first sportsperson to have 10 million Twitter followers. Off the field, Kaka is well-known for his humanitarian work, having served as the UN World Food Programme’s youngest ambassador in 2004. Kaka is a world football icon as well as an elite MLS player, having scored more than 20 goals and assisted on more than 15 in more than 50 games for Orlando City.
Kaka was without a doubt the best footballer in the world for a brief period. The Brazil playmaker was named Ballon d’Or winner in 2007, defeating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, two players who would dominate the awards for the next decade. Kaka was also named Footballer of the Year in Italy’s top flight in 2004 and 2007. He was truly outstanding, and while his career stalled after a mega-money move to Real Madrid in 2009, Kaka will be remembered as a true legend.
Kaka was also a member of Brazil’s winning FIFA Confederations Cup squads in 2005 and 2009, earning the Golden Ball Award as the tournament’s best player in 2009. In addition to his honors, he was named to the FIFA World XI and the UEFA Team of the Year three times between 2006 and 2009.
Kaka’s notable achievements in his career: Footballer of the Year in Serie A twice. UEFA Midfielder of the Year in 2005. FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007, winner of the Ballon d’Or, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, and IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker. One of only eight players in history to have won the World Cup, Champions League, and Ballon d’Or.
Also, read- Who Are The Top 7 Greatest Goalkeepers Of All-time In World Football History
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