HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 13: A general view of the MLS, Fussball Herren, USA march ball on the field during the first half of the Major League Soccer game between the New York Red Bulls and Minnesota United on March 13, 2022 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire SOCCER: MAR 13 MLS - Minnesota United at New York Red Bulls Icon220332609

The MLS is one of the biggest competitions in world soccer and is starting to really compete with sports like basketball in the USA for prominence. While there are various reasons for this, the arrival of world-famous star names as designated players has helped. The designated player rule allows MLS sides to sign up to three players who are outside their set salary cap. It essentially gives teams the chance to sign top-level foreign talent but without the richest teams taking all the best players.

Over the years, some awesome designated players have arrived from abroad and it is always worth keeping an ear out for who might be next. To find out the latest breaking sports news for the MLS, Crunch Sports is a great place to head. They tell you what is happening in soccer and publish any hot gossip on the sport.

If you want to know who some of the best-designated players have been to light up the MLS to date though, read on.

Wayne Rooney

Now a manager after retiring from playing, Wayne Rooney was one of the world’s best players in his prime. This made Rooney’s 2018 move to D.C. United a real coup for the MLS. In all, the player turned out 52 times for the side and netted 25 times in all competitions. In addition, the creative play he brought to the US and the extra attention his move gave to the MLS was a major deal.

David Beckham

Another top-class English player who lit up the MLS as a designated player was David Beckham. A skilled wide midfield player with great delivery, he played for Manchester United and Real Madrid before signing for LA Galaxy in 2007. Beckham’s presence really helped to lift the league’s profile and saw more people start to take the MLS seriously. In a five-year spell, Beckham notched 20 goals in 124 appearances plus a couple of cup wins.

Thierry Henry

After setting Europe alight with his skill, French forward Henry brought his pace and lethal finishing to New York Red Bulls in 2010. This was a major coup for the side and gave the MLS even more credibility with global soccer fans. Henry was a brilliant signing for the New York team and showed his immense talent before leaving in 2014. In that time, he racked up 52 goals in 135 matches and took the side to Supporters Shield success.

MLS has seen many major stars arrive

The designated player rule is designed to prevent the richest teams in the MLS signing up all the top-level talent from abroad and dominating the competition. Although it does mean teams can only sign up to three players outside their salary cap, it has not stopped some of the best players in world soccer from gracing the MLS. When you add people like Zlatan Ibrahimović (who is still known for having one of the biggest MLS contracts ever), Steven Gerrard and David Villa to this list, it becomes even clearer.