Welcome back to the weekly series that determines the best players to play in the Premier League from different nations. This week we are looking at players who made the jump across the pond.
USA! USA! USA!
The United States of America truly is a sporting superpower; however, the popularity of football in the nation has been overshadowed by sports such as Basketball, American Football, Ice Hockey and Baseball in recent years.
Soccer, as it’s known in the states, has been on the rise in recent times with the development of the MLS, helped by the signings of big names such as David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Kaka, Thierry Henry and most recently the egotistical Zlatan.
Premier League football has also increased in popularity, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United all developing a large Stateside following.
Today we are looking at the best and most renowned American footballers to grace the English Premier League. To date, 41 Americans have set foot in the Prem, and here are the best five……
In no particular order…
Brad FriedelEmbed from Getty Images
A keeper that many of us grew up with, Brad Friedel is simply a Premier League goalkeeping legend.
Making an astounding 450 top flight appearances for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, Friedel was a true stalwart in Premier League history. The bald-headed shot stopper may not have acquired many trophies during his career, but in 11 consecutive seasons he only missed four Premier League matches, a staggering statistic.
Friedel retired in 2015, at the ripe old age of 42, making him one of the oldest players to appear in the Premier League. With a Premier League career spanning two decades, Friedel undoubtedly is one of the greatest Americans to grace these shores.
Clint DempseyEmbed from Getty Images
Dempsey is the most prolific American player to feature in the Premier League, registering 57 goals in 218 appearances.
The forward arrived in England for the 2006/07 season, for a fee of £2 million. Arguably, Dempsey’s time at Fulham was the most successful time of his career, scoring 50 Premier League goals, winning the Club’s player of the year on two occasions, as well as gaining a runners-up medal in the Europa League.
Dempsey’s form at Fulham earned him a £9 million move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, where he netted seven times in 29 PL appearances, before signing for Seattle Sounders where he remains to this day.
Carlos BocanegraEmbed from Getty Images
Another Cottagers player to make the list, Californian Bocanegra made 116 appearances for Fulham in the heart of their defence.
The ‘Jackal’ signed for Fulham from Chicago Fire in 2004 and became a fan favourite. Bocanegra had the ability to play centre-back and left back, and had fantastic leadership skills, captaining his country and briefly Fulham in 2007.
Bocanegra left London in 2008 after four years at Craven Cottage after being unable to agree a new contract. He is still though highly of by Fulham fans, with one of his stand out moments being a stoppage time equaliser in the West London Derby.
Tim HowardEmbed from Getty Images
The half-Hungarian keeper may have been famous for having Tourette’s syndrome, but he did make 399 Premier League appearances, keeping 132 clean sheets.
Howard started his career in the Prem during the 2003/04 season, making 32 league appearances for Manchester United. Eventually Howard became tired of playing second fiddle at Old Trafford, and secured a move to Goodison Park.
Tim Howard went on to make over 350 league appearances for the Toffees, becoming a Goodison legend. Howard also excelled for the US national team, appearing 121 times between the sticks and winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup twice.
Brian McBrideEmbed from Getty Images
Yet another player who proves Fulham really do have an affinity with American players is centre-forward Brian McBride.
Whilst not as prolific as his American counterpart Clint Dempsey, McBride won over Fulham fans with his tenacious and spirited performances. McBride started his Premiership career with Everton, scoring four goals in eight appearances whilst on loan from Columbus Crew. Fulham snapped him up in 2003, and he went on to make 140 appearances netting 33 Premier League goals.
McBride was made Fulham captain in 2007 and went on to win the West London Club’s Player of the Year award twice.
McBride is so well regarded and legendary amongst Cottagers fans, that the stadium bar in Craven Cottage is named after him. I’ll drink to that!
Written by Calum Ridgewell.
Feature writer for 90MAAT. Football and beer enthusiast. Student at the University of Liverpool and future PR pro. Waiting for Blackpool to get to the Premier League…… Twitter: @ridgewellfooty