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Major League Soccer Alumni Starring in Europe: Almiron and Davies among those to have flourished since leaving MLS

Major League Soccer returns later this month and with the start of the new season just around the corner, it is a good time to take a look at some of the brightest talents to come out of the USA's top footballing division.

Over the years, MLS has earned a reputation as being a career graveyard for footballers with a number of veterans from David Beckham to Gareth Bale choosing to see out their careers in the USA. 

But MLS continues to grow and has started to instead produce a handful of top talents now plying their trade at some of Europe's biggest clubs.

WhatMajor League Soccer 2023
WhereUnited States and Canada
WhenRegular season: 25th February 2023 – 21st October 2023
How to watchMLS Season Pass, Apple TV (UK)
OddsLos Angeles FC 9/2, Philadelphia Union 7/1, New York City FC 8/1, New York Red Bulls 12/1, CF Montreal 12/1

Perhaps the most notable MLS alumnus now playing in Europe is Bayern Munich sensation Alphonso Davies. 

The Ghana-born Canadian came through the youth ranks at MLS outfit Vancouver Whitecaps, playing a major part in the team's 2017 and 2018 campaigns before departing for Bayern Munich. 

Davies moved to the Bundesliga in a $22million move (including performance-related bonuses) which was a record deal for an MLS club at the time. 

In hindsight, though, that has proven to be a bargain for Bayern Munich, who made the decision to move Davies from midfield to the left-back position, in which he is now considered one of the best in the world. 

With Bayern Munich, Davies has gone on to be one of the first names on the team sheet, winning four Bundesliga titles, two DFB Pokals and the Champions League with the Bavarian juggernauts, while he was also a crucial component in the Canada team who made their first World Cup since 1986 in Qatar last year.

Almiron showing true potential in a Newcastle shirt this season 

In 2018, Atlanta United won their first ever MLS Cup, beating Portland Timbers in the final, and red-hot striker Josef Martinez had a key role to play, finishing as MLS top scorer that season with an eye-watering 31 goals. 

But that would not have been possible had it not been for the man pulling the strings in Atlanta's midfield behind Martinez - Miguel Almiron. 

Paraguay international Almiron managed 14 assists for Atlanta United that campaign and in January 2019, he earned a move to Premier League side Newcastle United. 

The deal eclipsed Bayern Munich's signing of Davies as the most expensive in MLS history but it is fair to say Almiron took time to get going on Tyneside. 

In his first three full seasons, Almiron was a first-team regular for Newcastle but his goal and assist contribution was lacking. 

However, since the arrival of Eddie Howe as manager at the end of 2021, that has changed with Almiron scoring 10 times and laying on one assist in the Premier League this season, having played a significant part in the Magpies pushing for the Champions League places.

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Bundesliga a hotbed for young American prodigies 

The Bundesliga has earned a reputation as a breeding ground for young American talent in the last few years but a number of the USA players who have plied their trade in Germany's top tier originated in MLS. 

Tricky midfielder Gio Reyna is a prime example. Although born in Sunderland, Reyna came through the youth academy of MLS side New York City, representing the club between 2015 and 2019. 

Reyna then moved to the youth academy of Borussia Dortmund before being fast-tracked into the first team and becoming the youngest American, aged 17 years and 66 days, to appear in a Bundesliga match. 

Reyna is still only 20 and remains a key part of Dortmund's squad. Tyler Adams is another who started out in MLS before moving to the Bundesliga to improve his career, initially making 59 appearances for New York Red Bulls and winning the Supporters' Shield in 2018. 

He attracted interest for his performances through the middle for New York Red Bulls that season, subsequently moving to Leipzig and establishing himself as a Bundesliga regular before earning a move to Leeds United in 2022. 

Young striker Ricardo Pepe, meanwhile, started life with FC Dallas in MLS before moving to Augsburg last year. 

Pepe still has a lot to learn at the age of 20 but has been tearing it up during a loan spell with Groningen in the Eredivisie, having scored seven times in the league this season.

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