"In the late '70s I went to America with Aberdeen and there were guys like (Teofilo) Cubillas and (Peter) Shilton there," the Scot said.
"Before that there was Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer. It is difficult with David going there - I don't know what kind of impact he can make. David Beckham himself can't change the whole country."
"The size of the country makes it difficult," he said.
"In European football, and especially in British football, you can travel easily. "If you are Boston and need to go to Los Angeles it's a six-hour flight. Supporters don't travel so you are missing that rivalry between fans.
"So you have a problem. To make it substantial you would have to go regional but there's not enough teams to have four strong leagues."
Ferguson, who was speaking to an audience at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, feels the MLS is also undermined by an exodus of young homegrown talent.
"What you have got in the States is that a lot of kids are playing football in the States and there is nowhere to go," he said.