Over the past 15 years our league has featured a whopping 75 nationalities, from as strange and exotic locations as Eritrea, Timor Leste and even New Zealand.

There have been stars and stinkers from half the countries on earth and enough foreign faces to make a North Queenslander's head spin.

From the pinch-yourself highs of Alessandro Del Piero to the cover-your-eyes lows of Mario Jardel, these A-League's imports have shaped the competition we have today. 

So in honour of another season where both the Johnny Warren and Alex Tobin medallists were incredible imports, we thought we'd compile the A-League's favourite foreign packs to draw from.


Anybody else find it hard to believe there's been almost as many South Koreans over the years as Scots and Germans? 

While they haven't tended to set the league alight, Koreans have proven a popular venture, especially over the first few years of the competition.

Seo Hyuk-Su was a long-serving stalwart for Brisbane Roar, battling it out to become one of the last remaining A-League foundation imports by 2009. 

Kim Seung-yong helped bridge the gap after the Central Coast Mariners' stars started jumping ship, while Newcastle Jets actually played a large role in the career-building of Son Jin-hyung.

However, it's still fairly obvious that while many Koreans have made the trek Down Under, not too many have had a large impact on the competition.

Highlight: Byun Sung-Hwan's Championship-winning penalty for Sydney FC.

JAPAN - 11

Japan have certainly proven good bang for their buck, with the A-League - despite the J-League's position as one of the wealthiest football leagues in the world - able to attract two of the country's greatest footballers for spells in Oz.

There were a few wary signings in the beginning, with both Sydney and Perth Glory signing Japanese imports for their inaugural A-League seasons - Perth going on to have notable success with a little fan favourite called Ryo Nagai.

Then there was a slight lull, until Shinji Ono changed the attitude towards Asian marquees forever.

While Keisuke Honda proved a much-needed publicity injection - at least in Melbourne - for a league struggling for foreign stardom and bums on seats, Ono will go down in the history books alongside Dwight Yorke as a truly club-building import.

Ono set a trend that the Wanderers attempted to follow, with mixed success. Jumpei Kusukami lasted a couple of seasons in Wanderland, while Yojiro Takahagi and Yusuke Tanaka were shorter lived.

But no one will compare to the Genius.

Highlight: Can anyone even tell us exactly what this is?



Sydney FC's strong habit of plucking gems out of Eastern Europe has been at the heart of Serbia's strong numbers in the A-League, beating all of our Asian neighbours with 12 imports over the years.

The Sky Blues have benefited hugely from these relationships and word of mouth, with Milos Ninkovic becoming one of the greatest A-League players of all time (and advertisements for other foreigners).

But Milos Dimitrijevic and Nikola Petkovic were also loyal servants in their spells in the Harbour City, while Nebosja Marinkovic, Andrija Kaluderovic and Branko Jelic offered notable spells.

Highlight: Ninkovic's stunning solo strike against the Jets, what else?



It all started when Tom Met Zizou and the A-League has been changed for the better ever since. You can't have a conversation about Germans in the A-League...or a conversation about anything, without prefacing it with just how good Thomas Broich was.

The man rightly named Mozart is one of the greatest players to ever grace these shores, his engaging journey from one of the brightest talents in German football to an A-League hero the epitome of foreigner success stories.

But this isn't just about Broich, it's about the wave of German players he inspired. There had only been two in five years before Broich ventured to Australia, there have been 10 in the eight years since.

Markedly, the Bundesliga talent of Maximilian Beister, Georg Niedermeier, Patrick Ziegler and Alex Baumjohann have all called the league home in recent times, while German coaches have also made their mark (but that's another article).

But the last laugh is reserved for the always smiling Broich. Never has the A-League had a better advertisement for just how enjoyable playing football Down Under can be.

Highlight: Not just Tom, but that entire Brisbane Roar team.


Lending us a little South American flair since the A-League's inception have been our superstar Argentines who, while they haven't provided the most, have certainly provided some of the best.

Extra credit to the Sol de Mayo, they were there before imports were cool, dazzling us with the likes of Marcelo Carrusca and Marcos Flores - true (white and) blue legends who took their show-stopping skills out of the major cities and into the rural capitals.

Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners benefited particularly from the services of a flashy Argentine, but Melbourne City - boasting four over the years - have also reaped the rewards.

A trickle began in 2007, where Argentinian footballs slowly began entering the A-League and expanded notably throughout the mid 2010s. Last season, however, was the first since 2006 not to feature a single footballer from the country in the A-League.

Highlight: Fernando Brandan's rat tail was the catalyst for Rhyan Grant's mullet.


Aussie football owes a lot to its Scots, having nabbed a whopping 11 "Scottish" players for the Socceroos (and counting) along with 15 Scots for the A-League.

While Scotland has only taken one Aussie for the Tartan Terrors in return, they have grabbed their fair share of Aussie talent for the Scottish Premiership - you can thank the Mariners for that derby dominance, Celtic - so we feel it's a give-take relationship.

While they've benefited from the likes of Tom Rogic, we've in turn enjoyed the services of Grant Brebner, Nick Montgomery, Steven McGarry, Charlie Miller and Ross McCormack among others.

They've made a large impact on the league as undisputed leaders, hard-workers who have often continued on in coaching roles for their clubs post-career. They're also, per capita, among the longest-serving imports the A-League has had.

Highlight: McCormack becomes the fastest A-League player to reach 13 goals


SPAIN - 28

Only one behind the dazzling Dutch are the sizzling Spaniards, offering us a level of flair and excitement in numbers largely unparalleled by any other.

At 28 strong, it's hard to believe Newcastle Jets have never squared a pass to a Spanish maestro - we guess Adelaide United have taken more than their fair share over the years.

As the A-League has trended towards a possessive, attacking style, a Spanish midfielder has become nearly mandatory, while some of the league's best strikers have proudly boasted La Furia Roja heritage.

While the A-League can hardly boast a name greater than the likes of David Villa, Isaias Sanchez and Diego Castro have proven two of the greatest imports in A-League history.

Highlight: Luis Garcia's 38-year-old 'still got it' debut backheel for Central Coast...yes, and Si Senor, obviously.


For a nation of just 17 million, the Dutch sure do create a lot of footballers (and a big impact upon the world game).

No nation has had a larger impact on Australian football over the past decade, with the Netherlands boasting three of the past six Socceroos coaches in addition to a slew of A-league coaches, technical directors and no less than 29 A-League imports.

While our national team and youth systems haven't been able to quite replicate the Oranje's success, our clubs have definitely benefited from their players' services: from yesterday's icons like Patrick Zwaanswijk and Romeo Castelen to a renewed Orange invasion from the likes of Bart Schenkeveld, Leroy George and Siem de Jong.

Highlight: Orlando Engelaar's 'Wayne Rooney eat your heart out' goal


Yes, we're a colony and yes, some still call it the motherland. But it's still a minor miracle, given the English's renown for rarely venturing out of their own expansive league system, that so many of them end up down south.

It's a fad and it may be growing, especially if the likes of Adam le Fondre keep on bragging about their exploits in Oz.

It's easy to see why the English love to come to Australia, given the Championship is now one of the best leagues in the world, but League One doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

Why drop down to sodden pitches and rainy away days in Oldham when you could be killing it in the Harbour City? No surprises then that England sits second in the all-time tally, but what may surprise is that relatively few have set the league alight.

Sure there's this season's success stories, including Steven Taylor. Emile Heskey had a notable but brief run, Michael Bridges is now an adopted Aussie and Robbie Fowler's roaring for success up in Queensland. 

But the majority of those 34 names are a story of might-have-beens, down and outers who filled the numbers in the early days of the competition. These days however, things have changed. 

We've been a dumping ground for convicts and convict footballers for too long. Now, the English are earning their keep.

Highlight: Just a quick recap of God himself


The A-League's favourite foreign destination are the mighty Selecao, with a huge 38 players to have graced the A-League with their indomitable football presence over the years.

They've boasted some of the biggest drawcard power in A-League history - Romario for Pete's sake - but also some of the greatest surprises...and a few rip-offs of course (seriously, Jardel sucked)

They've made our capital cities their stomping grounds, from the shining Melbourne lights like Fred and Gui Finkler to the pint-sized Juninho and the towering Bobo.

They've amazed and frustrated in equal measure, like the enigmatic Vitor Saba. But, like the Slippery Fish Henrique, they've still managed to win our hearts.

Highlight: Henrique's Grand Final goal against the Wanderers