Major League Soccer has grown as a league and the number of participants will only increase for the 2022 World Cup, but who was the first player linked to an MLS team who played a World Cup match ? To find.
major league soccer wants to be the best league in the world or one of the best leagues in the world by 2026. Well, it all starts at the biggest stage, the World Cup. The club team with the most representation at a World Cup is Juventus, who will almost certainly be represented by USMNT star Weston McKennie.
In the case of MLS, when the league started in 1996, aside from the USMNT, there were unlikely to be many teams fielding two-year-old league players. Still, the MLS had many participants in the World Cup in France 98.
Most recognizable was Carlos Valderrama who was a Miami Fusion player when he captained Colombia in France, but given the game schedule, the USMNT made his debut days after a former MLS legend played for his national team in France 98.
Jorge Campos is the first participant in the MLS World Cup
On June 13, 1998, El Tri faced South Korea in the tournament opener against Mexico. In goal for Mexico was Chicago Fire’s Jorge Campos. Campos was in the middle of a goalkeeper duel with Zach Thornton at the time and would eventually leave the club for a return to Mexico with UNAM after a successful stint with LA Galaxy and a rather mediocre one with the Fire.
Still, there was a lot of debate in the Mexican press that the flamboyant Campos would start ahead of Óscar Pérez who appeared to be the safest keeper. Despite the criticism, Campos was a bright spot for Mexico in France 98 playing in all four El Tri games, although this time around his World Cup uniform was rather toned against a bright white jersey.