The UK and USA are close allies off the field, but even on it, a number of American and English footballers have crossed the Atlantic in a bid to further their careers. And, despite that number being quite small, those Americans that have graced the Premier League have left a mark on the game.
Christian Pulisic and DeAndre Yedlin are the only two Americans left in the top flight at present, but both are firing on all cylinders for their respective clubs Chelsea and Newcastle. Both will be in action this weekend against Leicester City and Norwich City respectively. Chelsea are 8/5 to win and Newcastle 5/4 and you can eye up free soccer picks for each Premier League game until the end of the season.
Here are five of the best Americans to light up the top flight.
No one can begrudge Brad Friedel a place on this list. The goalkeeper was 44 when he finally retired following the 2014/15 season, but his name had already gone into the record books with 310 consecutive appearances from 2004 to 2012.
Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur all enjoyed Friedel for spells which helped him amass 557 career appearances. The ‘keeper also became Villa’s and Spurs’ oldest ever player as record continued to tumble as his career went on. A good bet to keep a clean sheet, Friedel shut out the opposition a remarkable 132 times in 450 Premier League appearances.
Manchester United was Tim Howard’s first destination in 2003. But, after just 45 appearances, the goalkeeper moved to Everton where he firmly established himself as a Premier League standout. After an initial loan period, Howard moved permanently and went on to make 354 appearances on Merseyside. And, his clean sheet-to-appearance record is even more impressive than Friedel’s with 132 shutouts in 399 top flight games.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson at United, the man-mountain won both the FA Cup and League Cup, whilst his 121 caps for his nation is the highest of any American goalkeeper in US history.
Who knew that when Clint Dempsey moved to Fulham in 2007 he would become a cult hero? Well that’s exactly what Dempsey became. With 50 goals in 185 appearances for the Cottagers, the striker etched himself into Fulham and American folklore when he became the first American to ever play in a major European final against Atletico Madrid in the 2010 Europa League Final.
Voted Fulham’s Player of the Year in successive seasons, Dempsey became the first American to notch a hat-trick in the top flight and the first to net 50 goals. The striker was snapped up by Spurs in 2012, though he scored just seven times in 29 games. Dempsey even enjoyed five loan appearances at Fulham in 2014.
Clint Dempsey’s transfer to Fulham in 2007 had not been the first American capture by the Cottagers. That honour had fallen to striker Brian McBride who had moved to Craven Cottage in 2004.
McBridge registered 33 goals in 140 games over a period of four seasons, but it was his incredible work ethic that struck a chord with the fans and the coaching staff. Indeed, McBride was named captain in 2007 as well as the club’s Player of the Year after steering Fulham to Premier League safety. He left for the US at the end of 2008.
Fulham’s American connection has been well documented, but there is still room for one more on the list for Carlos Bocanegra. Arriving and departing at the same time as McBride, Bocanegra made 116 appearances for the Cottagers with eight goals.
A left-back with a great presence, Bocanegra captained Fulham briefly in 2007. The defender also earned 110 caps for his nation, scoring 14 goals.