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MLS player pool most diverse in U.S. professional sports

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Major League Soccer is the most diverse professional sports league in the U.S.

Major League Soccer is the most diverse professional sports league in the U.S., according to statistics released by the league Thursday that show more than 38% of MLS players were born outside the U.S. and Canada.

Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League are next closest with about a quarter of their players coming from abroad.

MLS' 543 players also represent the most diverse talent pool in terms of countries represented with 57 nations -- from Algeria to Zimbabwe -- contributing to the league's 19 teams. Brazil and Argentina have each sent 18 players to MLS while England and Jamaica have sent 17 apiece.

The NBA, where one in five players were born outside the U.S. and Canada, includes players from 43 countries.

A total of 335 MLS players were born in the U.S. and Canada with a majority of those -- 71 -- coming from California.

League (Year), Players, Born outside U.S./Canada, Countries

MLS (2014), 543, 208 (38.3%), 57

NBA (2013-14), 448, 86 (19.2%), 43

NHL (2013-14), 791, 197 (24.9%), 21

MLB (2014), 847, 218 (25.7%), 19

NFL (2013), 2,013, 49 (2.4%), 28

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

 

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