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Major League Soccer: Best Africans to Play in the MLS

Best Africans to Play in the MLS

Last Updated on September 3, 2021

The American Major League Soccer welcomes footballers from all continents. But many MLS worshippers may struggle to pinpoint the very best Africans to play in the League. This article highlights the Best Africans to ever play in Major League Soccer.

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African footballers travel a lot. They can be found in almost all continents in the world including Asia, Europe, Northern, and Southern America. Some of the best players in MLS are Africans.

These African footballers made an impact in the MLS and gained recognition. Through them, the MLS became popular in Africa. Some of the best Africans to play in the MLS are highlighted below

Didier Drogba | Ivory Coast

It is no secret that Didier Drogba is one of the greatest African players of all time. A potent striker, Drogba enjoyed success in almost every country he played. The MLS was no different.

Drogba featured for two American teams: Montreal Impact and Phoenix Rising.

Drogba scored 40 goals in 67 appearances during his time in America.

Drogba’s MLS Achievements

  • Montreal Impact Top Scorer
  • Two times MLS Player of the Month.

Macoumba Kandji | Senegal

Kandji had a taste of American club football with the defunct, Atlanta Silverbacks. Thereafter, he played for the New York Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids, and Houston Dynamo. In 2008, Kandji won the MLS Player of the week once.

Macoumba’s MLS Achievements

  • The MLS Western Conference Championship
  • MLS Eastern Conference Championship
  • MLS Cup

Joseph Ngwenya | Zimbabwe

Ngwenya is a former Zimbabwean footballer. He spent 4 years in the MLS across two stints. The first of the stint was spent with three different teams: LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, and Houston Dynamo. His second stint was with the latter too.

Ngwenya’s MLS Achievements

  • Two MLS Cups
  • Two Western Conference Championship

Fanendo Adi | Nigeria

Fanendo Adi is not as popular as Obafemi Martins in Nigeria but he is one of the best Africans to play in the MLS. Adi first joined the MLS on a loan move to Portland Timbers in 2014. A move he made permanent later that year.

Two years later, he became the club’s all-time top scorer. His career took a slight hit when he moved to FC Cincinnati in 2018.

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There were cases with a law enforcement agency, suspension by his club, and injuries that affected his performance.

Adi’s MLS Achievements

  • Two MLS Cup and the Western Conference championship.
  • Portland Timber’s All-Time Top Scorer as of 2016

Bakary Soumare | Mali

Former Malian international footballer, Bakary Soumare played as a defender during his career. His professional career took him to countries like France, Germany, Canada, and the United States of America.

Soumare made more than a century of appearance during his time in the MLS. He featured for the likes of Chicago Fire, Philadelphia Union, Montreal Impact, and FC Dallas.

His best season in the MLS was in 2008 and 2009; his second and third season in the League.

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Soumare’s Achievements

  • Nominated for the MLS Best XI for his exemplary performances.
  • Finalist position for the best Defender of the year.
  • Nomination for the League’s All-Star team.

Mamadou Diallo | Senegal

Diallo is a former Senegalese international footballer who played in several countries, including the U.S. Following stints with clubs in Senegal, Morocco, Switzerland, and Norway, Diallo joined Tampa Bay Mutiny in the U.S.
Although his stint in the U.S lasted for only about 2 years, Diallo did enough to leave a lasting memory. Many remember him for breaking the rib and lung of a goalkeeper but also for his exploits.

Interestingly, his most significant season was in his first season in the MLS with Tampa Bay Mutiny.

Diallo’s MLS Achievements

  • MLS Best XI.
  • MLS Golden Boot.

Obafemi Martins | Nigeria

Former Nigerian international, Obafemi Martins spent only three seasons in the MLS but he left his mark there. Martins, who is known for his trademark somersaulting celebration endeared himself to fans in the League.

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The Nigerian Striker moved to Seattle Sounders FC in 2013 from the Spanish side, Levante.

Martins’ MLS Achievements

  • Supporter’s Shield Trophy
  • The first player in the club’s history to score 17 goals.
  • A top-three position in the MLS MVP award.
  • U.S Open Cup
  • MLS Best XI
  • MLS Goal of the Year award.

Kei Kamara | Serie-Leone

Sierra Leone-born footballer, Kei Kamara is one of the best Africans to play in the MLS. The striker has spent the majority of his career in the MLS. In over a decade and half of his professional career which started in 2004, he spent less than 2 seasons outside the MLS.

Kamara represented nine teams in his career, eight of whom were in the MLS. His longevity in the MLS became a base for him to become one of the greatest scorers in the League’s history.

Kamara’s MLS Achievements

  • Joint Top Scorer in the MLS alongside Giovinco.
  • Nomination for the League’s best player.
  • MLS Humanitarian of the Year Award.
  • The first player to score for eight different MLS teams.
  • Currently, he is the fifth top scorer in the history of the MLS.

Final Thoughts

The MLS has welcomed footballers from various continents, including Africa. As a developing League, welcoming people from different continents could go a long way to increase the popularity of the League.

For instance, little or nothing was known of Seattle Sounders before former Nigerian attacker, Obafemi Martins graced the MLS. Hence, it is important to continue to attract talents from all over the world to improve the League’s popularity.

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