The "top MLS players going abroad" debate has surfaced numerous times here, especially after our quality WC run, the McBride situation and the recent All Star game. I wanted to look at with a different persepective. We have already considered how it will affect player development, league attendance, and expectations for future players. What hasn't been discussed (or at least discussed that much) is the sociological effect abroad of having US players in the top leagues. A oft used and valid point against having players go abroad is it is difficult for an American to break in to regular first team play. While I don't think the stereotype against Americans playing soccer is so egregious that it prevents players from ever getting time, it is still present. For example, if we had a top ten player in the world right now, his transfer value would be lower than an Italian or Brazilian of similar quality. It's just like the Ivy League graduate is initially perceived to be smarter than the grad from your local state school, even if the two are of the same intelligence level. These preconceived notions are unjust, but they are a reality. Could it be, then, that we need to have top players go abroad and suffer some setbacks in the beginning for the long term opportunities and success of future players going abroad? Here is how I see the path to gaining acceptance abroad: -We need to have top players start playing regularly at the highest level possible in top divisions - even if it is just a newly promoted team to Serie A or EPL, so be it. -Once there, the players need to perform well enough to solidify their places as starters. -After a few seasons, the players transfer to a bigger club and least win spots in the starting lineup, or at least squad rotations I'd rather see a bunch of players become contributors to a top winning side than have one guy light the league on fire. In the latter case, the success of the American player can easily be viewed as an abberation from the norm. In the past, this has been the case too: Harkes, Ramos and Reyna were/are successes in Europe, but can be viewed as exceptions. Again, I am only looking at how to gain general acceptance for American players abroad. I realize there is a whole host of other issues that must be considered in the MLS player abroad debate, but for now, disregard them. If we have 5-8 players who followed the aforementioned path in the next 5 years or so, I believe the attiude in Europe would start to shift more favorably towards US soccer.