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Where Does MLS Stand?

A non-soccer U.S. sports fan asked me the other day where MLS ranks among the pro leagues around the world. Without giving it much thought, I replied, "No better than 12th best." It's an interesting question and worthy of discussion.

There are several leagues that are clearly far superior to MLS. In no particular order: England, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico.

Then you have to consider the leagues with two or three upper-class clubs and a steep drop-off: Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Scotland, Serbia, Croatia, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Uruguay, etc.

And you can't discount less heralded leagues such as Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, South Africa, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, etc.

We should also toss second-tier circuits such as Serie B and the English Championship into the discussion.

So where does MLS stand among all these competitors? Does the league's lack of a world-class club and its relatively brief existence damage its case? Is its reputation bolstered by the number of players it has sent abroad?

For the fun of it, give me your top 10 in the world in order, and then tell me where you would place MLS and why. I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

By Steve Goff  |  May 1, 2007; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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