Most Multi-national Sports Teams

The San Antonio Spurs have to be the most internationally diverse sports team in North America. Take a look at their roster, and consider the 9-10 players that actually play.

I’m sure there are some European football teams that are more diverse. Manchester City is one. So who else should be on this list?

The Texas Rangers have a player from Japan who’s half Iranian; a South Korean; and players from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, and Curacao.

I think that part of the formula for teams to be on the list is a diversity of countries, but I think another big part is proportion of each.

Some tidbits from the Premier League

IIRC, the NHL Boston Bruins had players on five Olympic hockey teams; and that was with none of the U.S. Bruins making the national team.

In the Manchester United first team squad they have 35 players and there are 19 different nationalities in there, pretty diverse.

Given that there are only 15 men on the Spurs roster, I am totally confident that relative to the size of the team, this is the most internationally diverse team ever to play in a major North American sports league. Major European soccer leagues are far more diverse, but in the USA/Canada, the Spurs have to be tops of all time.

There may be baseball teams that have fielded men from seven countries (I’m counting the USVI as being the USA) but baseball teams have 25 players at any one time and in the course of a season will actually use anywhere from 30 to 50 players as they shuttle players back and forth from their AAA affiliates. All baseball teams are internationally staffed now - my Blue Jays have players from the USA, Canada, Venezuela, could almost field an entire starting lineup of Dominicans, and on the 40-man roster have a Japanese guy and a Puerto Rican if you count that as a separate country. But that’s 40 players, not 15.

I am sure the LEAST international of North American pro sports is football.

I don’t know for certain (and sport’s geeks will know better than I) but I bet that at least one team in the English Premier League has fielded a starting 11 with 11 different nationalities, and even more will have had 11 different nationalities on the pitch during the course of a match.

So that is probably the benchmark. Is there a sport with a bigger team size that has been made up of completely different nationalities? We’ll probably have to go to Rugby to test that out but I’m doubting it.

I also have no idea if it has been done, but Chelsea could easily have done it last year. Wouldn’t have been their best XI (you’d have to choose between Terry/Cahill and the Brazilians):


Man City is a little harder, but they could field:


United would be hard pressed to field a good squad without two English players - most of their defenders are English, and taking one rules out Rooney. Plus you’d have to pick between De Gea and Mata.
Spurs could field an XI, but only by not using Lloris.

sounds like it has happened at Arsenal at least a couple of times and some years ago as well.

That team wins the thread… Or at least ties it.

Definitely- the percentage was surely much higher in the Seventies, when many of the NFL’s place kickers were foreign-born soccer players like the Gogolak brothers, Jan Stenerud, Toni Fritsch, Nick Mike-Mayer, Garo Yempremian, Horst Muhlmann, John Smith, Efren Herrera, Bobby Howfield, et al.

IIRC when Arsenal made the UEFA Champions’ League Final a few years ago not even ONE of its starting XI was from England. Diverse, yes, but that also says something about the nature of the sport these days.

The blues and the Canadiens each had players on six OLympic teams, so one more than Boston; the Flyers had five but missed both canada and the US.

Still not the Spurs, I’ll agree.

Sol Cambell and Ashley Cole both started that final I think. Although Senderos (Swiss) and Lauren (French) were options.

I think Liverpool fielded a non English side about thirty years ago. The majority of the team was Scottish, Irish and Welsh, though.

It was the team that played in the 1986 FA Cup final, though it featured Mark Lawrenson who was born and raised in England (he had accepted the international call for Ireland by dint of an Irish grandfather at a stage in his career when a call-up to England probably looked unlikely),

The 2007 Colorado Rockies had players from eight countries -
South Korea
Dominican Republic

They also had a Native American on the roster, catcher Jayhawk Owens.

Someone already pointed out Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole but IIRC Mourinho did field an all foreign XI in 2010 Champion’s League Final. Fitting for a team called Internazionale though.

Cheers, I thought it was in a final but couldn’t remember which one. IMHO it illiustrates the fact that that the other Home Countries and Ireland have suffered more from the influx of foreign players into the Premier League than England have.