With the Major League Soccer season off and running again, let’s take a look at who would make the Best XI from players in the league that are on the wrong side of thirty.
The Rules – To be selected, a player must currently be playing in Major League Soccer and have played at least one full season.
Donovan Ricketts – GK
Arguably the hardest selection with a good group of over-30 goalkeepers in MLS including Jon Busch, Josh Saunders, Troy Perkins, Joe Cannon and Kevin Hartman, Ricketts makes the team over the others because of his outstanding shot stopping ability.
Ricketts is also the most recent of the above candidates to be named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and has earned 87 caps in a fine career with the Jamaican National Team.
Jay Demerit – D
A relative newcomer to MLS after a long and successful career in England with Watford, Demerit’s unlikely career path was recently profiled in Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story.
Demerit also started all four of the USMNT’s matches in the 2010 World Cup.
Chris Albright – D
In an MLS career that has garnered him over 200 starts with five separate teams, Chris Albright has been a backline mainstay in MLS for well over a decade.
In his career, he has won the MLS Cup three times, made the MLS Best XI team and earned 22 caps for the USMNT.
Danny Califf – D
Since his return to MLS in 2010, Califf has picked up 62 games for the Philadelphia Union, adding to 120 appearances he earned in MLS before going abroad in 2005.
Califf has been named to the MLS Best XI team, helped the USMNT win two Gold Cups and earned 23 caps for the Nats.
Shalrie Joseph – M
Joseph has been one of the most dominating players in MLS for the last decade, earning over 240 appearances for the New England Revolution and being named to the MLS Best XI team four times.
Joseph’s midfield dominance has been so complete in recent years that many USMNT fans wished he was an American by birth.
Dwayne De Rosario – M
With over 200 MLS appearances in the last decade, De Rosario is one of the most dominant players to ever play in the league.
De Rosario’s accomplishments include four MLS Cups and being named to the MLS Best XI a staggering six times.
Brad Davis – M
The “left-footed David Beckham”, Davis is considered by many to be the most under-rated player in the league.
In his career, Davis has made over 200 appearances in the league and won two championships.
David Beckham – M
Now entering his sixth season in MLS, Beckham’s career has been so extensive and successful, it dwarfs any other player in the league.
In addition to winning the MLS Cup and being named to the MLS Best XI in 2011, Beckham has won seven league championships in England and Spain, earned over 100 caps with the English national team and played in three World Cups.
Landon Donovan – M
No one has won more MLS awards than Landon Donovan and while that in and of itself could be seen as a criticism, it’s hard to blame the man for consistently being the best player in the league he’s in.
Donovan’s won four MLS Cups, been named to the MLS All-Time Best XI, the MLS Best XI five times, and been the league MVP twice. He also has over 100 caps with the USMNT, has played in four World Cups and is the national team’s all-time leader in goals and assists.
Juan Pablo Angel – F
At 36, Angel has shown that he still has the ability to score goals consistently in MLS. After a late season trade last season, Angel managed to score seven goals in only nine appearances for Chivas.
In his MLS career, Angel has scored 68 times, placing him 19th all-time and fourth among active players.
Thierry Henry – F
Named to the MLS Best XI last season at the age of 34, Henry has proven he can still get it done in front of the net.
His storied career puts everyone but David Beckham’s to shame, as Henry has won four league titles in England and Spain, the UEFA Champions’ League, EPL Player of the Year three times and the EPL Golden Boot four times.
John D. Halloran