Top African Players in the MLS in 2024

Major League Soccer has rapidly gained traction and popularity, attracting players worldwide. Several African players are among the international superstars making a mark in the MLS. 

As of 2024, Major League Soccer clubs feature players from a couple dozen African nations.

Below is a look at stars and the chronology of their careers in the MLS. 

Note: Players featured in this list are ranked in no particular order.

1. Nouhou Tolo

Nouhou Tolo
Cameroon International, Nouhou Tolo, who plays for Seattle Sounders. Image: Instagram/salvadorebanouh
  • National Team: Cameroon
  • Position: Defender (left-back)
  • Current Team: Seattle Sounders FC
  • Previous Teams: Tacoma Defiance, Rainbow Bamenda
  • Date of Birth: 23 June 1997
  • Awards: MLS Cup (2019), CONCACAF Champions League (2022), Africa Cup of Nations bronze medal (2021), MLS ALL Star 2021. 

Nouhou Tolo is one of the most famous African players in the MLS. The footballer, who plays as a left-back, is currently signed with MLS club Seattle Sounders FC, having joined the team in 2016. 

Internationally, Tolo plays for the Cameroon national team and was recently called for the African Cup of Nations 2023 competition. In addition, he has represented Cameroon in the 2018 World Cup qualifications and 2022 World Cup. 

Before joining the MLS, Nouhou Tolo played for Rainbow Bamenda, a football club based in Cameroon.

2. Carlos Akapo

Carlos Akapo, is an Equatorial Guinea footballer playing for San Jose Earthquakes.
Carlos Akapo is an Equatorial Guinea footballer playing for San Jose Earthquakes. Image: Instagram/akapo5
  • National Team: Equatorial Guinea
  • Position: Defender (right-back)
  • Current Team: San Jose Earthquakes 
  • Previous Teams: Cádiz, Huesca, Valencia B, Numancia, and Huracán
  • Date of Birth: 12 Mar 1993

Carlos Akapo is a Spanish-born footballer who plays for Equatorial Guinea’s national team. The right-back defender plays for the Major League Soccer club San Jose Earthquakes at the club level, having signed with them in 2022. 

Before joining MLS, Akapo played professional football in Spain, where he appeared for clubs like Huracán, Numancia, Valencia B, and Huesca.

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He joined San Jose Earthquakes from Spanish club Cádiz in 2022. 

3. Jonathan Mensah

Jonathan Mensah is one of the top award-winning African footballers playing in the MLS.
Jonathan Mensah has won several awards playing in the MLS. Image: X/Jonathan Mensah
  • National Team: Ghana
  • Position: Defender
  • Current Team: New England Revolution
  • Previous Teams: San Jose Earthquakes, Columbus Crew, Anzhi Makhachkala, Evian, Evian II, Granada, Udinese, Free State Stars, and Ashanti Gold. 
  • Date of Birth: 13 July 1990
  • Awards: Segunda División B (2009/10), MLS Cup (2020), FIFA U-20 World Cup (2009), MLS Best XI (2020), Columbus Crew SC Humanitarian of the Year (2017). 

Jonathan Mensah is one of the current Footballers in the MLS and plays for the New England Revolution.

He also plays for the Ghana national team at the international level and has represented his nation in top competitions like the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations. 

Mensah joined the MLS in 2017 after signing with the Columbus Crew from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. Before that, he played for several different clubs, like Evian (France), Udinese (Italy), Ashanti Gold (Ghana), and Free State Stars (Ghana). 

In 2023, he joined San Jose Earthquakes from Columbus Crew at a transfer fee of $500,000.

After a year, he left the Earthquakes and signed with the New England Revolution as a free agent. 

4. Monsef Bakrar

Monsef Bakrar joined New York City FC in 2023.
Monsef Bakrar joined New York City FC in 2023. He is an Algerian native. Image: leaguescup
  • National Team: Algeria
  • Position: Forward 
  • Current Team: New York City FC
  • Previous Teams: ES Sétif and Istra 1961.  
  • Date of Birth: 13 Jan, 2001 

Monsef Bakrar is another African player in Major League Soccer that is worth writing about. He hails from Algeria and currently plays for New York City FC. 

Bakrar joined the MLS in 2023, signing with New York City FC from Croatian club Istra 1961 at a transfer fee of $2 million. Before that, he played for ES Sétif in Algeria. 

5. Victor Wanyama

Victor Wanyama joined CF Montréal in 2020.
Victor Wanyama is a multi-award-winning Kenyan footballer playing for CF Montréal in 2020. Image: X/Victor Wanyama
  • National Team: Kenya
  • Position: Defensive midfielder 
  • Current Team: CF Montreal 
  • Previous Teams: Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton FC, Celtic FC, Beerschot AC, Helsingborg, AFC Leopards, and Nairobi City Stars. 
  • Date of Birth: 25 June 1991
  • Awards: Scottish Premier League (2011/12, 2012/13), Scottish Cup (2012/13), UEFA Champions League runners-up (2018/19), Canadian Championship (2021), PFA Scotland Player of the Year (2012/13), and SPL Young Player of the Year (2012/13). 
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Victor Wanyama is a professional footballer who plays for the Kenya national team and is another of the top African players in the MLS. As of the 2024 season, he plays for Major League Soccer club CF Montréal. 

Victor Wanyama joined CF Montréal in 2020 as a free agent after leaving Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

Before that, he played for Southampton FC, which had signed him from Scottish club Celtic FC at a transfer fee of £12 million (approximately $15.2 million). 

Victor Wanyama has also played for several other clubs, like Beerschot AC in Belgium and Helsingborg in Sweden. He also represented Kenyan clubs AFC Leopards and Nairobi City Stars. 

6. Amine Bassi

Amine Bassi joined Houston Dynamo FC in 2022
Amine Bassi is the club’s league top scorer with 12 goals in the 2023 season. Image: X/Amine Bassi
  • National Team: Morocco
  • Position: Midfielder 
  • Current Team: Houston Dynamo 
  • Previous Teams: Metz, Metz II, Nancy, and Nancy II.  
  • Date of Birth: 27 Nov 1997

Amine Bassi is a French-born professional footballer who plays for the Morocco national football team. He is currently signed with the MLS club Houston Dynamo FC. 

Amine Bassi joined Houston Dynamo in 2022 from the French club Metz at a transfer fee of $1.5 million. Before that, he played for clubs like Metz II, Nancy, and Nancy II (all in France). 

7. Chris Mavinga

Chris Mavinga
Chris Mavinga joined LA Galaxy as a free transfer from Toronto FC. Image: X/Chris Mavinga
  • National Team: DR Congo
  • Position: Defender (center-back)
  • Current Team: LA Galaxy 
  • Previous Teams: Toronto FC, Troyes, Reims, Rubin Kazan, Rennes, Genk, and Liverpool. 
  • Date of Birth: 26 May 1991
  • Awards: Belgian Pro League (2010/11), MLS Cup (2017), Canadian Championship (2017, 2018), UEFA European Under-19 Championship (2010).  
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Chris Mavinga plays for the LA Galaxy. The French-born footballer played for France at the youth level before switching his allegiance to play for the DR Congo national team.   

Chris Mavinga joined the MLS in 2017 after signing with Toronto FC from the Russian club Rubin Kazan at an undisclosed transfer fee. In 2023, he was acquired by LA Galaxy in a free transfer.

Mavinga has played for other clubs like Liverpool (England) and Rennes (France). He has also had several loan spells with clubs like Genk (Belgium), Reims (France), and Troyes (France).  

8. Bongokuhle Hlongwane

Bongokhukle Hlongwane models the Minnesota United's new jersey
Bongokhukle Hlongwane models in Minnesota United’s jersey. Image: snl24
  • National Team: South Africa
  • Position: Winger, Forward
  • Current Team: Minnesota United
  • Previous Teams: Maritzburg United, Nxamalala Fast XI 
  • Date of Birth: 20 June 2000

Among South African players in the MLS, you will find Bongokuhle Hlongwane. He is currently signed with Minnesota United. 

Hlongwane joined Major League Soccer in 2022 after signing with Minnesota United from Maritzburg United in South Africa at a transfer fee of $500,000.

Before that, he played for the South African regional league club Nxamalala Fast XI.  

Need to learn more about South African players abroad? Here is a list of South African-born players representing other countries.

9. Steven Moreira

Steven Moreira
Steven Moreira represents the Cape Verde National Team. Photo: Instagram/s_moreira20
  • National Team: Cape Verde
  • Position: Defender (centre-back, right-back)
  • Current Team: Columbus Crew
  • Previous Teams: Toulouse, Lorient, and Rennes.  
  • Date of Birth: 13 Aug 1994
  • Awards: Campeones Cup (2021) and MLS Cup (2023)  

Steven Moreira is a French-born player representing the Cape Verde national team and was recently part of his nation’s squad in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. As of the 2024 season, he is signed with the MLS side Columbus Crew. 

Moreira joined the MLS in 2021 after signing with Columbus Crew as a free agent. Before that, he played club football in France, representing teams like Toulouse, Lorient, and Rennes.

10. Obinna Nwobodo

Obinna Nwobodo, a Nigerian footballer, joined FC Cincinnati in 2020.
Obinna Nwobodo is a Nigerian footballer who plays for FC Cincinnati. Image: mlssoccer
  • National Team: Nigeria
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current Team: FC Cincinnati 
  • Previous Teams: Göztepe, Újpest, Enugu Rangers, and FC Inter Enugu.  
  • Date of Birth: 29 Nov 1996
  • Awards: Nigeria Professional League (2016), Supporters Shield (2023), African U-20 Championships (2015) 

Completing the list of top players from Africa in MLS is Obina Nwobodo who is signed with FC Cincinnati. He hails from Nigeria and has represented his country’s national team at the youth level (under-20s). 

Obina Nwobodo joined the MLS in 2020 after signing with FC Cincinnati from the Turkish club Göztepe at a transfer fee of €2.73 million (approximately $2.9 million).

Before that, he played for Újpest (Budapest), Enugu Rangers (Nigeria), and FC Inter Enugu (Nigeria). 

As you can see, there are several African players in the MLS. These footballers have illustrious careers and are an inspiration to the upcoming football players in Africa.

Hopefully, they will continue to light up the American soccer scene and leave a lasting legacy.

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1 thought on “Top African Players in the MLS in 2024”

  1. MLS will be an attractive hub in view of the next 2026 FIFA World Cup organized in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Based in Newark NJ – USA, am open to collaboration with French-speaking media.

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