The MLS has long been tagged as the retirement league, as many notable footballers arrive only after their prime to suit up for the soon-to-be 19 sides (Montreal Impact join in 2012).
Those aging stars are perhaps more enticed by the prospect of living in North America and away from the pressures in Europe than the actual play.
While this is partly true, the league also offers a glimpse at future U.S. talent—current national team players Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Tim Howard (who have all spent time playing in the English Premier League) all started their professional careers in MLS.
As the league has developed, so to have the academies and the level of college soccer in North America.
Finally, homegrown products are popping up across the league and representing a new generation of football. And for some, their potential is so great that one day the MLS might not be a big enough stage for them to hone their craft.
Here is a list of young MLS talent that is ready/will soon be ready to make the jump to top-tier European football.