Here an informative infographic from Major League Soccer (Facebook.com/MLS). Going through the numbers I was not surprised to learn that 61 percent of all football players in the MLS are from the US & Canada. However, what was relatively surprising to me was that more South American footballers (11%/60) play in the MLS than European players (9%/51). One might argue that Europe is home of the most prestigious leagues and that Europeans have easier and better access to those than outer-continentals, which might even be a valid point. Therefore, Europeans might prefer to play in Europe rather than in North America.
Another rather surprising number is that only 1 percent of MLS footballers come from Asia; and Asian representation is currently limited to only Japan, Guam and Australia (Wikipedia). Especially, since football leagues such as the Japanese J.League, Korean K League, and Chinese Super League, among others, are ranked higher than the MLS in the IFFHS ranking of Strongest National League of the World 2014 (IFFHS 2014). I am aware that the mentioned ranking cannot be the sole factor to decide what players should be targeted by MLS clubs. Nonetheless, it gives a point of reference where (potentially abundant and arguably more affordable) new talent can be retrieved.
The fact that 26 FIFA World Cup countries are represented in the MLS this year is proof that the North American league has the potential to attract top talent. However, it would be interesting to know how many of these foreign players will actually join their National Teams in Brazil; and even more interesting would be how many will get to kick a ball on the pitch.
Check out the MLS Soccer website for more information on this infographic.