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Where does Frank Lampard’s signing rank in MLS history of mega-deals?

Jul 24, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

Frank Lampard

Superstars galore. That’s what Major League Soccer is all about these days.

On Thursday Frank Lampard joined the likes of Kaka, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe as the list of star names who have signed for MLS in the past 12 months.

[RELATED: Lampard signs for NYC FC]

Lampard, 36, is the highest scorer in Chelsea’s history, captained the Blues to their first-ever UEFA Champions League title in 2012, has won just about every trophy going domestically and in Europe, plus he has 103 caps for England who has captained on multiple occasions. Sure, he’s getting on but as Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane have shown in recent years, if you look after yourself you can still put in stunning performances. Lampard will hope to follow suit.

Where does his signing rank in MLS history of superstars?

Below is a list of the top 10 signings of all-time in MLS, since Designated Players became all the rage back in 2007 when David Beckham arrived in LA. Remember, although other signings may have made a bigger impact (such as Fredy Montero or Guillermo Barros Schelotto) we are purely talking about the global superstars here.

Do you agree with the top 10?


1. David Beckham

2. Thierry Henry

3. ***Frank Lampard ***

4. Kaka

5. David Villa

6. Robbie Keane

7. Clint Dempsey

8. Michael Bradley

9. Tim Cahill

10. Jermain Defoe

  1. mlsconvert88888 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I think I’d put Kaka above Lampard. He’s younger and he’s a past Ballon D’Or winner

  2. gerrytotos - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    I have my own list and it has the following names: 1. Thierry Henry, 2. David Beckham, 3.Frank Lampard, 4. KaKa, 5. David Villa, 6. Robbie Keane, 7. Clint Dempsey, 8. Tim Cahill, 9. Germain Defoe, 10; and then Michael Bradley. The reasons that I picked Thierry Henry over Beckham is the fact that during Beckham career He was known for two things and one thing only; His free kicks and his looks, but unfortunately there’s no points for good looks in soccer ( popularity contest, yes). However, Thierry Henry is the best striker that England, Premier League, has ever known; in addition to his World Cup and European Cup Championship trophies, and also He was the runner up of the 2006 World cup. Further-more, Thierry Henry was a scoring machine, a descent dribbler and passer too for many years.

    • lorenzo463 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Beckham created the whole model of the older international superstar finishing off his career in MLS. The DP rule was pretty much invented because the MLS wanted someone to sign Beckham. Henry’s skill set may have been amazing, but this is more than a debate about who was the better player. Beckham was transformative in a way Henry was not.

      • bobinkc - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        Beckham’s sole role in the MLS was to draw more fans. Just about every team could sell their stadium out when Beckham was in town. The purpose was accomplished: the MLS fan base is hardcore and will show up to support their home team regardless. Beckham was moved on after he could no longer play and was more interested in flying back to England than in playing soccer. The MLS may not be top-tier yet, but it is a heck of a lot better than it was even 10 years ago and that effect has trickled down to the 5-year-olds. I know because our granddaughter started playing when she was five and has done nothing but improve under the careful tutelage of knowledgeable coaches. The future for soccer in the US is bright unless all the cynics bring it down with their constant carping and denials.

  3. pike573 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Big name but 36

  4. pike573 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Big name but 36

  5. elgallo2001 - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    I know he’s older now, but I’ll bite. I sure would love to watch MLS games but they don’t show the damn matches on TV. I have an Apple TV with an MLS app but they want to charge to view games!? I’m a PL fan but I’m trying to get into MLS and they sure make it hard.

    • ewyorksockexchange - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      Do you not have cable tv? Between ESPN (or WatchESPN) and NBC/NBCSN, and local affiliate channels (in my case ComcastSN and TSN), there’s an MLS game on just about every night.

      • elgallo2001 - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        Time Warner, and it’s very hard to find matches in my market (West TX). I do however get every single PL match each week. I don’t get it. Where do you live?

      • ewyorksockexchange - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:15 PM

        I live in the Philly suburbs, and I have Verizon. For the ESPN games, you should be able to use WatchESPN with your username and password for your Time Warner account (it’ll authenticate you essentially by routing you through your cable provider). That’ll get you 1-2 matches a week, at least. I’m not sure if NBC Live Extra (which also carries all PL games, as you probably know) carries the NBC/NBCSN MLS broadcasts.

        You can also get a fair amount of other matches by watching Univision channels. The broadcast isn’t in English, obviously. But if you don’t mind the non-English commentary (or want to brush up on your Spanish), it’s a good way to get another 1-2 matches a week.

    • ewyorksockexchange - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      I live in the Philly suburbs. You can use your time warner login info to use watch espn, which should give you about 1-2 matches a week. Univision is another decent bet, as long as you don’t mind forced Spanish lessons. Not sure if live extra simulcasts the MLS matches from nbc/nbcsn.

  6. drewvt6 - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    After Beckham and Henry, I’m certain Dempsey is the most important/biggest signing the league has made. Signing a legit US star with less than 100,000 on the odometer is a big deal. Lampard and Kaka are both over that limit and unless they have engines like a Toyota (kaka with his injury issues certainly does not) we’re not greeting many more miles out of them.

    • therealzer0cool - Jul 25, 2014 at 11:49 AM


      If there were no #DempseyWatch there would not have been Michael Bradley returning to MLS in his prime.

      I’d also make a case that Fredy Montero should be somewhere on this list because he was a legitimate Colombian star (2x Golden boot winner in the Colombian league) before coming to MLS who was sought by clubs in Europe (AC Milan was one of them) but Seattle swooped in and signed him before the 2009 season. A fact which BBC’s South American football correspondent Tim Vickery was amazed and shocked by.

      Seattle then went on to further develop Montero for the rigors of European football and now he will be playing in the UEFA Champions League with Sporting SCP in Portugal after a very good season.

      People who often refer to MLS as a retirement home seem to either willingly ignore or are just ignorant of stories like Montero’s.

      When MLS clubs sign rising stars like Montero that is WAY more important than another 36 year old winding down his career.

      Leaving Montero off this list does nothing to change the perception that MLS is nothing more than an elephant graveyard.

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