5 soccer stars who have played in MLS

soccer stars who have played in MLS

The sport of soccer is less popular and well-supported in the United States than it is in Europe. The US prefers American Football and the NFL over European football or soccer and various competitions, such as the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League. But with the US, Canada, and Mexico set to host the FIFA World Cup 2026, the mood amongst sports fans stateside is changing.

Are you ready to catch soccer fever? There’s no need to wait until the summer of 2026 to see the sport’s biggest names in action. Major League Soccer has more pulling power and financial muscle today than ever before. But how will that affect the upcoming season and the results of the most important games?

Changes to local gambling laws mean soccer fans can make predictions and place bets on the outcome of games this season. The best betting websites have ramped up their coverage of the MLS, offering more markets, generous odds, and exciting specials.

The draw of the MLS

We’re seeing a steady flow of famous European and South American players sign with MLS teams. This is nothing new, of course, and we’ve already seen “Golden Balls” David Beckham strut his stuff in LA, but now players in or approaching their prime are being drawn to the US.

Bringing several foreign players to the tournament does little to help homegrown talent and improve the chances of Team USA at the next World Cup, but in their quest for wins and glory, coaches and owners seem focused on their short-term goals. But that’s an issue for the major sports publications to mull over and try to make sense of this year.

In the meantime, we’ll stick to what we’re good at, providing readers with exciting and valuable lists that can be used in all manner of situations. Want to prove your worth as a soccer fan in a group? Call on the information included on this page to impress. Are you struggling for an answer in the pub quiz sports category? 

After reading the list below, you’ll learn more about the best foreign players who have strutted their stuff in MLS over the years.

Becks isn't just a soccer star that played in MLS; he revolutionized the competition

David Beckham

Becks isn’t just a soccer star that played in MLS; he revolutionized the competition. Former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and England attacking midfielder Beckham moved to LA Galaxy in 2007 and stayed until 2012. Unlike many others on this list, David was near the peak of his powers in the States.

This is evident from his career stats, where he scored 18 goals in 98 appearances for Galaxy. After leaving LA, David spent time with some of European soccer’s best teams, including AC Milan in Italy and French Ligue 1 champion PSG in Paris. Beckham is the current president and co-owner of MLS newbies Inter Miami CF, where he plots domination.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney is best known for his time at Old Trafford, where he scored goals for Manchester United and England. The forward played 393 games for the Red Devils, scoring 183 goals.

In 2018 he moved to DC United and spent a season in MLS, playing 487 games and scoring 23 goals before returning to Derby. Like Becks, Rooney has returned to the US and is the head coach of the team he played for, taking control last year.

Thierry Henry

The Frenchman was a star for Les Bleus and EPL side Arsenal. It was no shock when he opted to end his career at the New York Red Bulls, having signed from Barcelona in 2010. He spent four years playing in MLS, scoring 51 goals in 122 games. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

They don’t come any bigger than Mr. Ibrahmovic, certainly not in the player’s opinion. The most confident soccer star on the list – and that’s saying something – Zlatan signed for LA Galaxy in 2018 from Man Utd and stayed for a season, scoring 53 goals in 58 games. You’d expect nothing less from the super Swede.

Steven Gerrard

England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had a fantastic career in soccer and continues to perform at the highest level today. The midfielder played for only two teams in his career, Liverpool and LA Galaxy. Since leaving MLS, he has managed and coached Liverpool youths, Rangers and Aston Villa, winning the Scottish Premiership title with the Gers.