Unfortunately, MLS still has the reputation of being the league in which European come to retire. However, the overall quality of the league has improved considerably during the last five years. The creation of academy teams, the constant expansion, and the influx of talent have helped considerably. And now not only we see respected international players on American soil every weekend. There are a few American players who could easily play in Europe right now.
Here are four examples:
Jordan Morris: Jordan Morris is undoubtedly the top youngster in MLS, and he might get a chance to try his luck overseas in a few months if he continues to play at such a high level. An integral part of the Seattle Sounders last season, Morris became all-time scoring leader for rookies in the leagues, and he ended making his debut for the USMNT only a few months after starting as a pro. Now he’s a regular in the USMNT, and if he thrives with the National Team then Europe seems to be the next step. His pace and clinical finish would make him thrive in a fast-paced environment. Could we see him in the Bundesliga or the Premier League soon?
Sacha Kljestan: Sacha Kljestan has been one of the most consistent playmakers in MLS ever since he returned from a five-year stint in Anderlecht. He has always been talented, but it seems now he is putting it all together. Just like Morris, his 2016 performances allowed him to return to the national team, and he has dazzled with the Stars And Stripes as well. He looks quite comfortable in MLS, but he could be ready to try his luck in Europe once again. For what is worth, he played at an MVP level in 2016, and nothing suggets he shouldn’t be on the same level this season. The one thing that plays against him is his age, as he will be 32 at the season’s end.
Steve Birnbaum: Being a top prospect in any sport is not easy. But it’s even more difficult for American soccer players, as fans are always looking to “the next big thing”. However, few players have dealt with that as well as Steve Birnbaum has done it. He was a top pick in the 2014 Draft and his transition to the pros has been smoother than expected. A staple in DC United’s defensive line and a constant name in the USMNT roster, Birnbaum seems ready to make the jump. For what is worth, his name constantly popped up in transfer rumors over the past summer. It wouldn’t be a shock if European clubs come knocking on his door again.
Dax McCarty: Dax McCarty’s case is quite complicated, and we’ll analyze it. He isn’t the most talented player in the league. He’s not the most technical either. He doesn’t have a lot of flair, and at times you don’t even realize he’s playing. But there’s no question he knows the CM role perfectly, and teams value these types of players. He might not have potential like other MLS stars. But he doesn’t have a lot of prove in American soil either. His game is built for a mid-level team in England or Germany. He could also take a lower step and jump to a place like Scotland, where he’d be an absolute star.