It's been pointed out in many circles already, but the New York Red Bulls fielded a team on Saturday that had a Starting XI from 11 different nations.
Jack Bell at The New York Times' Goal blog,after posting New York's boiling-pot lineup
, wonders is it a footnote, a source of concern or simply the way of the world?
You could probably find a logical argument for any of those three.
Says me that it's just the way of the world. It's globalization.* As our country grows as a soccer power, it will obviously draw talent from more diverse regions of the world. I don't think it harms MLS nearly as much as it potentially can harm the development of U.S. national team players. (Though, one could argue, with Bob Bradley as coach, the majority of the national team pool comes from foreign leagues anyway.)*For example: Manchester United could field a team that doesn't have a single English player AND doesn't repeat a nation twice: Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands), John O'Shea (Ireland), Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland), Nemanja Vidic (Serbia), Patrice Evra (France), Darren Fletcher (Scotland), Anderson (Brazil), Antonio Valencia (Ecuador), Nani (Portugal), Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria), Javier Hernandez (Mexico).
You might have other ideas though and are free to share them in the comments.
Of course, the logical question that needs answered: Can Sporting Kansas City field a Starting XI with 11 different nationalities?
The answer, is yes. And it would be a fairly full-strength squad. (The Colorado Rapids blog, View From the Couch,
. But they had to alter formations. I had to make one slight shift in position, which you'll quickly see.)
GK: Jimmy Nielsen, Denmark
DF: Aurelien Collin, France*
DF: Julio Cesar, Brazil
DF: Shavar Thomas, Jamaica
DF: Roger Espinoza, Honduras**
MF: Birahim Diop, Senegal (Green Card)
MF: Milos Stojcev, Serbia
MF: Davy Arnaud, United States
FW: Ryan Smith, England***
FW: Omar Bravo, Mexico
FW: Kei Kamara, Sierra Leone
*-Technically, not a rightback. But he is on FIFA '11.
**-Born in the USA, declared for Honduras.
***-Has dual England-US citizenship, has yet to declare.
Of course, I could add Teal Bunbury (Canada) but omitted him because he chose to represent the USA and Stephane Auvray (Guadeloupe) because he's technically a French citizen. Still, a very strong team up there. The only big omissions are Michael Harrington (USA), CJ Sapong (USA) and Craig Rocastle (England).
That's Europe (4), Africa (2), North America (2), Central America (1), the Caribbean (1) and South America (1).