MLS’s Next Scouting Area: Africa

MLS’s Next Scouting Area: Africa

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 31, 2008
  • 4 Comments

Something tells me I may not be the only one out there that feels this way but with the way the MLS is growing and the new international player rules, I think it is time for the MLS to take serious looks at players in Africa.

I thought of this a few weeks back before the transfer window opened up and meant to write about it but didn’t get to it until today. Someone else actually beat me to the punch on it and it made me remember to do this again.

But as much of the African Nations Cup as I’ve seen, the more I get into it the more I want MLS teams to look at African players.

We’ve seen a great amount of South American talent join the league in recent years that has helped allow the league to put it’s name out there for most to see. The MLS likes to be the talent grower for American players but sometimes falters on that front when they lost them to European clubs. Plus, we know when most Europeans come over to the MLS they are a waste. But like the South Americans, the few African players have made a good impact on the league.

In the past we’ve seen Nigeriaís Uche Okafor be the top defender in Kansas City, and his compatriot Francis Okaroh helped anchor the backline for Chicagoís expansion side. Bouna Coundoul, had a good enough season in Colorado this past year that he made Senegalís squad for the Africian Nations Cup. Joseph Ngwenya was a brilliant trade for Houston and had now cashed in with a move to Europe in Austria.

African players have shown their worth in the past and can produce players. But how come the MLS is overlooking them?

Is it because the league wants to play favorites and get Latin players to help drive crowds in more Latin based cities? Or is it because most of these guys are house-hold names that could actually contribute to most MLS clubs?

Sure the best of them go to Europe like most players do, but if teams are getting quality from South America, I would be willing to bet that they would be able to find quality from Africia as well, and maybe even for a cheaper price than most of those South American players.

Home-grown talent and South American isn’t the only place the league should look at for talent. But then again, the league always seems to operate on a “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” type of style. I think as the league grows so should their scouting.

  • Rory Miller

    I'd say just because we need to reach the latino market more then the very small African immigrant market.

  • I’d say just because we need to reach the latino market more then the very small African immigrant market.

  • Andrew Vorce

    I completely agree. We don't need to sell our league as it is, we need to sell it for what it CAN be. The more talent that we bring in, regardless of stature, will help the league. The better quality of the game, the better 'big names' will want to come. Just because we have the DP rule doesn't mean that's where we need to start. We don't need the TOP down method, I think we need a mix of the both. Good base players that can play well.<br />
    <br />
    Also, there are a lot of african people in the US. A lot of schools host a lot of international students, and they always want to see their own people shining.

  • Andrew Vorce

    I completely agree. We don’t need to sell our league as it is, we need to sell it for what it CAN be. The more talent that we bring in, regardless of stature, will help the league. The better quality of the game, the better ‘big names’ will want to come. Just because we have the DP rule doesn’t mean that’s where we need to start. We don’t need the TOP down method, I think we need a mix of the both. Good base players that can play well.

    Also, there are a lot of african people in the US. A lot of schools host a lot of international students, and they always want to see their own people shining.