We often hear discussions about if the Glasgow Rangers and Celtic should join the English Premier League. While that might shock you, many soccer teams play in another country's league system. Therefore, this top ten list will focus on the most successful ones. However, note that we've excluded teams that folded or are back playing in their native countries. Also, we won't count Canadian teams playing in the MLS since Canada officially recognizes it as the highest domestic soccer league. Finally, the same goes for numerous foreign and satellite teams playing in Singapore.
10. Wellington Phoenix FC
In 2007, the New Zealand Football federation formed Wellington Phoenix FC, securing it a spot in the top Australian league, A-League. Yet, this wasn't an unusual move as they replaced New Zealand Knights when they went out of business. Currently, Wellington is the only professional team from the country, as the domestic league is still on the amateur level.
Quite unexpectedly, the club reached the playoffs only in its third season. Furthermore, they beat several opponents before losing to eventual champions, Sydney FC. Despite not winning trophies, Wellington has a solid league record and is rarely finishing at the bottom. Therefore, many credit them for the expansion of New Zealand's football development. As their home attendance is excellent, the future looks bright for the team! The only reason why Wellington isn't higher on our list is that it can't compete internationally in both OFC and AFC confederations.
9. DPMM FC
Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota Football Club is a soccer club from Brunei, the only one on our list that played in three national championships! They are also proud that most of DPMM FC players come from Brunei. After several seasons and a couple of titles in the local league, the team moved to Malaysia in 2005. There they quickly earned a promotion to the top division before reaching an excellent third place in their first season. However, after only two years, DPMM FC moved to Singapore Premier League and won the Singapore League Cup multiple times.
Owned by the Prince of Brunei, a former goalkeeper for the team, DPMM FC managed an incredible feat in 2019 by winning both Singapore and Brunei League. This is surprising for a nation with one of the worst international soccer teams. In 2021, DPMM came back to play in Brunei, but only because they couldn't compete in Singapore due to the COVID-19 restriction. However, that's only temporary.
8. FC Andorra
Futbol Club Andorra is by far the biggest club in the tiny Principality of Andorra. It's also the only club from the country playing in the Spanish league system since 1948. For most of its existence, F.C. Andorra competed in Segunda Division B, a third level in the Spanish league system.
Their biggest moment came in 1994 when they surprisingly beat Barcelona and Espanyol to win the Catalan cup. As for the official cup competitions, their best result is Copa del Rey Round 16. Since being bought by famous Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué, the club has shown high ambitions and has massive backing from sponsors. Don't be surprised if they reach the highest level of competition in Spain.
7. The New Saints FC
Based in England, The New Saints FC has been playing in the Welsh league system since 1959. As you can see on the coat of arms, the club represents two local communities – Oswestry in England and Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain in Wales.
The New Saints earned its high place on our list as it won the Welsh league a record number of times. They've also represented Welsh football at the international level, including Champions League and UEFA Cup matches against Liverpool and Manchester City. However, they never qualified for the first round of any UEFA competition.
6. Derry City FC
Located in Northern Ireland, Derry City Football Club is surprisingly the only Northern Ireland soccer club regularly playing in the Republic of Ireland leagues since the mid-eighties. Ironically, they are also the only club to ever win the league, FAI Cup, and the League Cup in the same year (1989). Since then, they've added more trophies, giving them a place in European competitions.
Also, Derry City became the first League of Ireland club to receive a premier UEFA license. Still, they've never been particularly successful internationally. They only reached the first round of the UEFA Cup once (2006) when they were beaten by Paris Saint Germain. But the most treasured possession of the club are its fans, as they've saved it from bankruptcy, and now they own it. Derry City FC tickets are highly-sought items!
5. Newport County AFC
Newport County A.F.C. is one of the four Welsh clubs playing in the English league system and apparently the worst among them. Still, the club is a regular member of the English Football League, which encompasses the top four divisions. The best days are far behind them, as their best result came in 1939 when they played in the Second Division (now Championship). However, that season was stopped thanks to Mr. Hitler and his ambitions to conquer the United Kingdom.
The team had its 90 minutes of glory against Manchester City in the 2018-19 edition of the F.A. Cup and lost in the round of 16. The club also managed to win the Welsh Cup in 1980 while still playing in the English league system. This success allowed them to participate in the Cup Winner's Cup. There they reached the quarterfinals, barely losing to East German side Carl Zeiss Jena.
4. Wrexham AFC
Wrexham AFC is the oldest club in Wales and one of the oldest worldwide. They played at the top four English football levels for most of its existence, including several seasons in Division Two (now Championship). The club also had several notable F.A. Cup runs, reaching the quarterfinals on three occasions.
However, they've also competed in the Welsh Cup, winning it a record number of times. That was also their ticket to Europe, as they were regular in the Cup Winners' Cup. In 1975-76 the side barely lost in the quarterfinal to Anderlecht, which later won the competition. Eight years later, they dispatched mighty FC Porto in the first round. Hence, that's more than enough for position number four on our list. In 2021, a famous actor Ryan Reynolds bought the club, giving it a lot of publicity and hope for improvement. Furthermore, you can take them to glory in FIFA Career mode!
3. Cardiff City FC
Cardiff City is one of the only two Welsh clubs to ever play in the top division of English football. They joined the English league system in 1920, and in 1924 the team already achieved their biggest success. They finished as the runners-up, with the same points total as the eventual winners Huddersfield Town. Since then, the club has primarily played in lower divisions.
Cardiff City won a single domestic trophy in 1927, the FA Cup, thus becoming the first non-English club to do it. Recently, they were also the runners of the Football League Cup and had players representing them at the World Cup. Cardiff City has also played more than ten European football seasons by winning multiple Welsh Cup trophies. They are the most successful Welsh club in Europe, reaching the semifinals of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1968. The team also scored notable wins against Sporting Lisbon, Nantes, and even Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Cup Winners' Cup in 1971.
2. Swansea City AFC
Founded in 1908, Welsh side Swansea already joined the English league system in 1921. Sixty years later, they finally managed to earn a promotion to the top level. Moreover, in 1982 they were close to winning a title but eventually finished sixth, which is still their best performance. They are also a Welsh team with the most seasons spent in the Premier League and the only non-English club to win the Football League Cup (2013).
Like other Welsh clubs mentioned, Swansea won tons of Welsh cups, thus securing a place in the European competitions. However, in 2013, Swansea also became the first Welsh club to qualify for Europe from the English league system. This was also their most successful European season, as they were defeated in the round of 32.
1. AS Monaco FC
AS Monaco was the obvious choice for the number one spot! Founded in 1924, the club immediately joined the French league system as its integral part. AS Monaco FC is also the only club representing the nation that's not a UEFA or FIFA member. The club is still proud of its origins, as it plays home games in Monaco and is partially owned by the country's rulers, the House of Grimaldi.
AS Monaco is also one of the most successful clubs in the French league, traditionally recognized as one of the world's best. The side won the competition eight times and were the runners up on seven occasions. Moreover, they also have several cup titles and have played an important role in European competitions. Their most significant success came in 2004 when they were beaten in the UEFA Champions League's final. Therefore, they remain one of the best teams that never won this competition. They were also runner-ups in the 1992 European Cup Winners' Cup final and have played Champions League semifinals on a few more occasions. Of course, they produced numerous world stars, including Kylian Mbappe.
While many other clubs are not playing in their domestic leagues, these ten proved to be the most successful. They all deserve praise, as some are among the top clubs in the leagues they are playing in.
Have we missed a team on our top ten list? Which of these clubs is your favorite? Share your views with us and write a comment below.
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Fernando Ponce Says:
Look at DPMM 2021 season before it was canceled - they won all six games, scored 54 goals and conceded only one! That's nine goals per match! No wonder they are playing outside of Brunei.
July 22 at 01:39:31 PM
And Wrexham failed to move up to League 2, but I'll continue watching their progress. FC Andorra seems interesting too - they won the league this season and are now in La Liga 2.
June 10 at 09:49:55 AM