While many of the players in 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League hail from countries that do not have a professional league or from clubs that still compete in the amateur ranks, there are a select few who compete at the highest level in Europe.
Among the leagues represented are England’s Premier League and France’s Ligue 1, plus players on teams who competed in this year’s edition of the UEFA Champions League.
With that, let’s have a look at the Best XI of 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League qualifying players who ply their trade in European football.
Goalkeeper | Curacao
All of Room’s career has been spent in the Netherlands, mostly at Vitesse where he spent 10 seasons before moving to PSV Eindhoven in 2017. He has made just three appearances for the Eredivisie giants, but he was included on the team’s Champions League roster and has kept a clean sheet in all three of Curacao’s wins.
Defender | Montserrat
The versatile Dyer can slot in at left-back or play as a winger. No matter where he is on the field, he contributes as, evidenced by Montserrat’s 2W-0D-1L record in three Nations League matches. The 28-year-old recently joined Norway’s Lillestrom on loan from Swedish club Elfsborg.
Defender | Curacao
Born in the Netherlands, the well-traveled Martina and current right-back for Championship side Stoke City has had spells at the top level of English football with Southampton and Everton. Martina has played 40 matches with the Curacao national team, serving as captain.
Defender | Guadeloupe
The 37-year-old boasts a wealth of experience in French football, spending most of his career at Reims and Auxerre. He spent four seasons playing in Ligue 1 with Reims and has started 16 matches this season for Auxerre in Ligue 2. Tacalfred was part of the Guadeloupe team that made a memorable run to the semifinals of the 2007 Gold Cup. He has played in two of Guadeloupe’s three Nations League matches.
Defender | Jamaica
A stalwart in English football, Mariappa currently plies his trade with Watford in the Premier League. Mariappa started his career with the Hornets before spells at Reading and Crystal Palace and then returning to Watford in 2016. He was a key member of Jamaica’s run to the 2015 Gold Cup final. Mariappa has 42 caps with the Reggae Boyz.
Midfielder | Curacao
Bacuna is another Curacao player who has spent the bulk of his career in England. After starting with Dutch side Groningen, he had a four-year spell at Aston Villa and then two years at Reading prior to joining Premier League outfit Cardiff City this winter. Bacuna played in all three of Curacao’s matches at the 2017 Gold Cup and has three goals in three Nations League starts.
Midfielder | Canada
The Cardiff City winger is another one that is no stranger to English football, having played previously with Blackburn Rovers and QPR prior to joining the Welsh side in 2016. Hoilett has emerged on the international stage as well, playing in all four of Canada’s 2017 Gold Cup matches, then six matches in Concacaf World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018 and has two goals in three Nations League games.
Midfielder | Aruba
Born in the Netherlands, John is a new addition to the Aruba National Team and has hit the ground running, with starts in all three of Aruba’s Nations League matches, including a pair of assists in the 3-1 win over Bermuda. John spent the fall with Turkey’s Bursaspor prior to joining Kaisar of Kazakhstan over the winter.
Forward | Haiti
The Haiti danger man has joined Scottish outfit Saint Mirren on loan from Belgian first division side Sint-Truiden. Nazon has had previous stops at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Coventry City in English football, and he enjoyed a career day on Nations League week one when he fired in a remarkable five goals in Haiti’s 13-0 trashing of Sint Maarten. Nazon has 15 career international goals with Haiti.
Forward | Canada
Former Orlando City striker Larin is currently in Turkish football with Besiktas. He has featured in 24 matches with Besiktas and has eight goals, including a memorable hat trick in a Europe League match in 2018. He’s kept his scoring boots while on duty with the Canadian National team, with three goals in three Nations League matches.
Forward | Curacao
Janga currently leads the Nations League in scoring with six goals, including a hat-trick in a matchday one 1-0 dismantling of Grenada. The Rotterdam-born striker joined Kazakhstan side Astana from Belgium’s Gent over the summer and has four goals this season, plus seven Europa League appearances.
Arch Bell is a freelance soccer writer who lives in Austin, Texas, and covers all things Concacaf. Follow him on Twitter.