It’s American Independence Day, so what better way to celebrate than by compiling a list of the top 10 footba, sorry, ‘soccer’ players to have ever made their way from the States to the Premier League?
Not goalkeeper Pepe but midfield scuffler Claudio, who was quietly effective for Sunderland and Manchester City for six years between 2001 and 2007. Not one to hit the headlines, he was more a failed running mate than a memorable president.
9. John Harkes – Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham, Nottingham Forest
The first American to ever play in the Premier League did so for three different clubs, and although this stunning strike came in the old Division One it’s still worth a look, right? Boy howdy.
8. Carlos Bocanegra – Fulham
A redoubtable defender, Bocanegra was a fan favourite over five years and 116 league appearances at Fulham, and looked a bit like one of the soldiers who died first in Saving Private Ryan.
7. Brad Guzan – Aston Villa
Bald American goalkeepers have been a Premier League theme for a while, and Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan is currently representing them with pride. In his early career the Illinois-born keeper used to play for the South Carolina Gamecocks. Go Cocks!
6. Roy Wegerle – Blackburn, Coventry
Pre-Premier League experience at Chelsea, Swindon, Luton and QPR (where this amazing goal was scored) made Roy Wegerle a familiar face by the time the league got revamped in 1992, when spells and Blackburn and Coventry followed. He’s now trying to be a professional golfer, although Jordan Spieth has nothing to worry about.
After four years at Millwall, Washington’s Kasey Keller became a familiar figure in the Premier League where he kept goal for four different clubs. He also spent two years at Borussia Moenchengladbach where he lived in a 1,000-year-old castle, which really should have been a reality TV series. ‘Keeping Up With The Kellers?’ No? Anyone?
4. Brian McBride – Everton, Fulham
A forward seemingly made of granite and never without blood gushing from his head, Brian McBride enjoyed a brief loan spell at Everton but found more fame at Fulham, where he was named club captain for the 2007/08 season. This earned him the nickname ‘Captain America’ amongst the club’s fans, who weren’t really working very hard on that one.
3. Tim Howard – Manchester United, Everton
From jokes about his Tourette’s Syndrome to becoming one of the most renowned goalkeepers in the country, England has been good to Tim ‘Secretary of DefenSe’ Howard. He was shocking for Everton last season, but here he is cleverly wearing camouflage to evade the detection of Bolton Wanderers to score a goal.
A clever attacking midfielder who can also play upfront and is a regular goal threat, Clint Dempsey was a fantasy football favourite during his time at Craven Cottage and is the only American to ever score a hat-trick in the Premier League. The ‘Deuce’ is also an accompl… he raps a bit, but thankfully is still doing the day job at Seattle Sounders.
1. Brad Friedel – Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham
Another bald American goalkeeper, but undoubtedly the Daddy of them all, Brad Friedel takes our No. 1 spot for his sterling 18-year service to the Premier League, where he played for four clubs. He was probably at his best at Blackburn, where he scored this last minute equaliser against Charlton. (He immediately conceded and Rovers lost 3-2, but that’s not the Hollywood ending we want). USA! USA!