The Canadian men’s national team’s European-based stars like Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, and Cyle Larin get most of the headlines and the attention, but numerous Canadians in MLS have had stand-out seasons that have seen both their profile and their value soar.
Kamal Miller is just one of them. The centre-back traded Montréal for Miami in April and it’s fair to say things have gone pretty well since then. OK, Inter Miami are below CF Montréal in the standings, but Miller is now a teammate of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba, as well as a Leagues Cup champion, things there’s not a chance in hell he’d have foreseen for himself at the start of the year.
Transfermarkt’s latest market value update of all MLS players rates Miller as the highest-value Canadian star in the league, with a market value of €5 million ($7.3 million CAD). The 26-year-old from the Scarborough area of Toronto, who has become an integral member of Miami’s defence under first Phil Neville and then Tata Martino this season, also makes it in at centre-back in Transfermarkt’s MLS Most Valuable XI, the only Canuck to make the cut.
Which other Canadians rank high in the list of market value, per Transfermarkt? You can probably guess some of the names; others, perhaps not so much.
Second in the list is Nashville SC’s former Toronto FC winger Jacob Shaffelburg.
Shaff settled into life in Music City well after his mid-season loan move last year and has kicked onto another level in his first full campaign with the club. The Kentville, Nova Scotia native has registered four goals and six assists across 26 games in MLS and the Leagues Cup this season, and his Transfermarkt value has risen 40 percent to €3.5 million ($5.1 million CAD) as a result.
LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau is third-ranked among Canadians, TFC’s Jonathan Osorio is fourth, and there’s a multi-player tie for fifth consisting of Miller’s former CFM centre-back partner Joel Waterman, new Vancouver Whitecaps right-back Richie Laryea, TFC young talent Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, and former Toronto man Mark-Anthony Kaye.
But what about the risers and fallers in the latest update? There’s some huge movement in the rankings thanks largely to some breakout campaigns for Canadians in MLS this year.
Colorado Rapids’ Moïse Bombito, who earned his first call-up to CanMNT this summer and impressed at the Gold Cup, has risen in market value by an incredible 1,900 per cent after only making his MLS debut in May.
Related read: Canada head coach John Herdman compares first-time CanMNT call-up Moïse Bombito’s potential to Jonathan David
Talented Charlotte FC midfielder Brandon Cambridge, a dual US-Canada national, had the second-biggest proportional jump at 900 per cent thanks to his own impressive debut MLS campaign, which included scoring a brace in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire in May.
Ali Ahmed, another breakout CanMNT talent, rose by 500 percent to €1.5 million ($2.2 million CAD) thanks to his emergent season with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Other notable climbers include Columbus Crew right-back Mo Farsi, Portland Timbers centre-back Zac MacGraw, TFC’s Kobe Franklin, and a whole host of CFM players such as Jonathan Sirois, Nathan Saliba, Jules-Anthony Vilsaint, and Mathieu Choinière.
Related read: ‘Fearless’ Ali Ahmed’s Canada debut marks latest high point for breakout Vancouver Whitecaps star
Overall, Lionel Messi ($51 million CAD) is of course the highest-value player in MLS, followed by his compatriot, Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada ($40 million).
While Lorenzo Insigne is still the highest-value player at a Canadian club, poor seasons individually and collectively at BMO Field have seen huge drops in market value. Since the start of the season, Insigne’s Transfermarkt value has fallen 47 percent to $11.7 million CAD). That’s what combining high expectations with a bunch of hamstring injuries and a poor goal return will do for you. Meanwhile, Federico Bernardeschi has dropped 25 percent to $8.8 million, below the Whitecaps’ highest-ranked player Ryan Gauld, who is valued at $10.3 million CAD.
In fact, TFC’s season has been so bad that only four players (Franklin, Alonso Coello, Cassius Mailula, and newly promoted reserve goalkeeper Luka Gavran) have seen their market values increase.
Transfermarkt notes its market values should not be equated to a likely transfer fee but represent “an expected value of a player in a free market.” Their value rankings make for very interesting reading and can be found in full here.