Top 10 Americans to play in the Premier League

Published on 4 October 2023 at 14:28

With the Americans coming over to Europe to try and take and take the Ryder cup home it seemed only fitting to talk about Americans which came to Europe (more specifically England) and left their mark on English soil. 

10. Landon Donovan 

The former attacker for LA Galaxy was known as the face of Major League Soccer, but his time in the English Premier League might have been so much more.

During his two stays at Goodison Park, Donovan was well regarded by Everton. Unfortunately for them, he was long past his prime when he announced his initial retirement two years later.

However, 22 appearances across all competitions with two goals and nine assists is certainly nothing to be sniffed at.

9. John Harkes

The former USMNT captain, who is listed on this list because he was the first American to play in the Premier League, made his first transatlantic crossing in 1990 to join Sheffield Wednesday. He played a total of 87 games and scored seven goals for The Owls.

He spent seven seasons playing in England and was the first American to play in the newly established Premier League. He is widely considered as one of his country's all-time greats.

8. Carlos Bocanegra

Bocanegra, who was arguably the best American defender of all time, had a lengthy European career that included stops at Rangers, Racing Santander, Sant-Etienne and Rennes.

His longest tenure, though, was at Fulham, where he played regularly for six seasons at Craven Cottage.

Bocanegra, who made 133 total appearances while scoring eight goals for the club, was one of the few Americans to hold the honour of leading a team at that level. He was also one of the architects of the Fulhamerica movement. Strangely, he was Fulham's second-leading scorer in the 2006–07 season with five goals.

7. Geoff Cameron

Cameron, a midfielder for Stoke who remained a fixture in the top division for years.

After starting his professional career with the Houston Dynamo, Cameron  transferred to Stoke at the age of 27. He played in 168 Premier League games, serving as the team's equivalent of a Swiss Army knife.

During his six-year tenure, Cameron, a player who could line up as a holding midfielder, right back, or centre back, gave a unique level of versatility.

Before joining FC Cincinnati in 2021, he headed to QPR in 2018–19 to begin a three-year stay in the Championship.

6. Brian McBride

McBride, like Bocanegra, was a vital member of Chris Coleman's Fulham team that finished the 2006–07 season in the top division.

McBride continued to play for the Cottagers in the league, making 148 games, and despite only scoring 36 goals during that time, he shown great grit and perseverance at the top of the pitch.

Despite failing to win a trophy at Craven Cottage, he was chosen as Fulham's captain before the 2008–2007 season.

McBride scored 37 Premier League goals (33 for Fulham) to help keep the Cottagers in the Premier League during his five seasons in London.

5. Claudio Reyna

Reyna was known as one of the best footballers the United States had ever produced when he joined Manchester City in 2003.

Reyna made his mark in England despite spending most of his prime in the Bundesliga and having an injury-shortened career. Reyna spent time with Sunderland and Manchester City after spending four years with Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, and Rangers.

Prior to the arrival of Christian Pulisic, Reyna was referred to as the original "Captain America." His superb technique and composure on the ball helped him establish himself as one of the greatest American football players in history for the USMNT.

4.  Christian Pulisic 

Some may argue that Pulisic's ranking on this list is a little bit premature, but when you consider what he has accomplished in such a very brief period of time, it's difficult to disagree.

At the age of 20, Pulisic signed with Chelsea in 2019 after spending four years at Borussia Dortmund. Later that year, in a 4-2 away victory over Burnley, he made headlines by scoring his first hat-trick for the team. He finished the campaign with 11 goals and 10 assists across all competitions.

3. Brad Friedel 

Before making his MLS debut in 1996, Friedel had already played in Turkey and Denmark. The next year, the keeper moved once more, this time signing a deal with Liverpool for less than £3 million.

He played for Blackburn from 2000 until 2008, totalling 290 appearances; after that, he shone for Aston Villa, appearing 114 times over three seasons in the Premier League.

After playing 450 Premier League games by the time he retired in 2015, he left Villa Park for one more chance at success with Tottenham Hotspur, where he proved to be a capable backup for the team's recently signed Hugo Lloris.

2. Tim Howard

Over the years, the US hasn't had much issue creating goalkeepers, with Howard being one of the biggest success stories. In 2003, he made his move from MetroStars to at the time England's top team, Manchester United. At Old Trafford, he went on to win the FA Cup and League Cup.

However, Howard didn't accomplish enough to persuade United of his long-term prospects, and after three years, he was sent to Everton. The custodian, who was born in New Jersey, made 354 Premier League appearances for the Toffees, the most of any player.

1. Clint Dempsey

Who else? Few Americans have captivated supporters' hearts, souls, and minds more than Clint Dempsey in the history of the Premier League. His reputation as the best male American football player in history is widely recognised.

Dempsey established his reputation at Craven Cottage. He had his strongest season with the Cottagers in 2011–12 after joining from the New England Revolution, scoring 20 goals across all competitions.

After joining Tottenham in 2012, Dempsey became the highest-paid American football player in history, but he was only at White Hart Lane for one season. The three-time Gold Cup winner, who is still the American with the most Premier League goals, later made a brief return for a short spell at Fulham on loan from Seattle Sounders.

Who was your favourite American playing in the Premier League?

Written by Joshua Lucas

Insta- Josh_lucas15

Twitter- lucas15_josh

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